A teenager who helped residents on the throughout the night as Grenfell Tower fire burned just hours before sitting an A level exam has said he is “a bit gutted” after receiving his results.
Eighteen-year-old Rory Walsh spent all night co-ordinating the mass of donations and helped families driven from their homes find shelter - despite his English poetry exam just hours away on the horizon.
He had been hoping for a C, but got a D grade for his English literature and language A level, to go with his Ds for film studies and AS media studies.
Speaking after his results, he told the Press Association: “I feel a bit gutted, I was hoping for a bit more, especially as I was supposed to get special consideration , I thought it would have been at least a C.”
Rory, who lives near the burnt-out tower block in Notting Hill, described the night the tower burned down as “numb, hectic and tragic”.
He sat his exam in Richmond College in Twickenham and left after 35 minutes, refusing extra time, to continue with the relief effort, as his mind had gone blank.
He said: “I wasn’t going to go at first. When I saw the severity of it... I thought ‘what if it collapses, I should stay here in case something happens?’.
“But then my family and my friends were saying ‘just go and do the test, try and get your mind off it, at least you can say you attempted it’.
“The problem was, on the journey I was getting mates ringing me saying ‘are you alright’, knowing I lived there, and then people were posting videos of the actual fire and it was a bit off-putting.”
Rory, who took English because he wanted the possibility of a teaching career, is currently training to be a personal fitness trainer, and one day hopes to open his own gym.
Asked if he would make the same decision to help he said: “Definitely yeah, a grade’s not worth more than that. I’d definitely do the same thing again.
“I don’t want to play the victim. The people who lived in that building - they were cheated, whether it was from life or the opportunities or doing their best.
“I only saw it but coming out of that - if I had to come out of that and do an exam I couldn’t have done it, no way.”
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.