The 18-year-old from Richmond School and Sixth Form College will be spending a gap year as a sheep and cattle farmer in Australia before studying to be a vet.
Ben, who lives in Richmond, earned two A’s and two B’s to confirm a place to study veterinary science at Nottingham University but is off Down Under first to experience life on a farm in the Australian outback.
His love of animals was kindled during childhood visits to a farm run by his grandparents Maurice and Heather Walker between Catterick and Tunstall.
“I suppose that’s what started it all off. I’ve always loved animals and being a vet has been an ambition for as long as I can remember,” said Ben who has a pet cat called Luca and a rabbit called Keekee.
Over the past few years, he has clocked up more than 300 hours of volunteering at Swale Veterinary Surgery in Richmond, even sitting in on operations.
“That’s been great experience but it was always my plan to travel and Australia seemed a good place to go. It’s a long way but I’ve been a couple of times before because I have relatives there, and it’ll be more great experience to be working on a farm with sheep and cattle.”
Head teacher Ian Robertson said students, staff and parents were delighted with the “excellent” results at Richmond School and Sixth Form.
“The progress students have made is excellent whilst the headline figure of 45 per cent A*-B grades and 3 A*-B passes is an increase on the previous year.
“Only two students have had to apply for a place in higher education through the UCAS clearing process, demonstrating the success of the school in helping students fulfil their ambitions of a university course.”
Head boy Chris Gill and fellow student Dan Storr were both delighted to gain their target grades to study land and agricultural courses at the prestigious Harpers Adams University.
Cherry Hornby was another student who excelled, gaining two A* and an A grade. She will study Biomedical Sciences at University College London.
Mark Wolstenholme achieved three A* and an A grade and is bound for Sheffield University to study engineering.
“I’m just thrilled because my results are better than I expected,” said Mark.
Richmond School and Sixth Form also bucked the national trend in the Advanced Level Subsidiary (AS Level) examinations, with many students gaining all A grades.
“Certainly, the prospects for these students in the next academic year look terrific,” said Mr Robertson.