BOXER Natalie Jubb put in a knockout performance to secure three A*s as she starts a journey towards the cut and thrust world of Central Government.

The student at Carmel College, Darlington, will now read a BA Honours degree at the University of Birmingham in social policy.

“I want to work in Government and my boxing has given me the strength and confidence to deal with the unexpected, which working with politicians certainly will be,” said Natalie, a member of Darlington Boxing Club, who won a bronze medal in the England Women’s Winter Box Cup, representing Tyne, Tees and Wear.

“It isn’t normal for a girl to box but it has given me more determination and the ability to go into situations blind. I have seen a lot of protests happening recently and I believe you need people in power who care about representing everyone. On my course I want to look at the discrepancy of class and how education can prepare everyone for the future regardless of background.”

Carmel College was also celebrating after launching the next generation of medical students.

Maggie Gurung, Jeanne Jose, Ezra Laundy-Blair, Nandana Bejoy, Sarah Azam and Stephen Elais all gained places at top universities to study medicine.

Born in Hong Kong, Maggie is from a Nepalese family and came to the UK in 2006 because her grandparents were Gurkha soldiers, based at Catterick Garrison.

“Around the world health care tends to be based on how much money you have but in the UK the NHS is free and non-judgmental,” said Maggie, who will read medicine at Newcastle University. “I did some work experience at Darlington Memorial Hospital and really enjoyed working with doctors and talking to patients.”

For Jeanne, living through the COVID-19 pandemic has been inspirational and she is looking forward to reading medicine at Newcastle University. “I wasn’t sure what to do until I did my work experience at Darlington Memorial and saw the doctors working first hand,” she said, after gaining two A*s and an A. “I think everyone is really grateful to the doctors and nurses for their efforts during the pandemic.”

Ezra will also study medicine at Newcastle University after securing two A*s and an A. He said: “I have always been interested in medicine but the pandemic has been a real eye-opener and highlighted a great need for more doctors.”

The COVID crisis has also increased awareness around mental health and wellbeing, a field Maryam Bawarish is hoping to explore as she takes up a place at Durham University to read psychology.

“I did consider medicine, but I’m more interested in the mind,” she said. “The pandemic has been very worrying and stressful for everyone and it happened so suddenly. I have always wanted to help people and when I did my work experience in a mental health hospital it was amazing to see how everyone worked.”

Holly Barrigan will also study at Durham University as she reads a degree in natural science having obtained three A*s. She said: “It was a bit deflating not being able to sit our exams but I am over the moon with my results.”

Top performing student Amelia Bryant secured four A*s and will now study engineering at Imperial College, London, where she hopes her studies will combine her love of maths, physics and art.

“I have always loved electronics,” said Amelia, who plays the piano, cello and is a dancer. “When I heard our exams had been cancelled I was so upset I spent the day completing a load of physics multiple choice questions so I felt more in control, so I was so relieved to get the results I needed.”

Carmel College Principal Mike Shorten said: “We always celebrate students’ hard work and efforts. Even this year, despite the lack of recognition of Centre Assessed Grades for so many students, we are still thrilled most students will be going onto their chosen courses at university or into their chosen career.”

Chief Executive of the Bishop Hogarth Catholic Education Trust, of which Carmel is a member, Maura Regan added: “It is extremely disappointing that Centre Assessments have not been accepted and a moderation process has taken place based on a statistical model which, therefore, does not fulfil the commitment that students will get the grade they deserve.”