Top A-level student pays tribute to aunt following her death from rare brain disease

A GRIEVING student has paid tribute to the devoted aunt who inspired him as he collected top A-level grades.

Bertie Wood’s aunt, chemistry teacher Jay Blundell, who was also his godmother, died aged 55, just weeks after being diagnosed with a rare brain disease as he studied for his A-levels.

Ripon Grammar School student Bertie, who vowed to make her proud, collected A*s in maths and chemistry, an A in economics and an A* in his extended projected qualification on Winston Churchill.

The aspiring lawyer, 18, said of his mentor Jay, a headteacher at Foundry College in Wokingham, who suffered from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD): “She was a fantastic teacher and had a real passion for her subject and learning in general.

“My mum had to be with her for the final two weeks of her life and her death affected the whole family. It would be good if we could raise awareness about such a rare and horrible brain disease.”

Bertie, from Brafferton, who will be studying law at the University Of Leeds told how he sorely missed his aunt’s help and guidance in the run-up to exams: “She was always more than willing to help me with any problems, and I was very lucky to have her. I hope I can make her proud with my results.”

Bertie, whose 12-year-old border collie Nellie and beloved great-aunt Eleanor also died during his sixth form years, said: “It has been an emotional few years for me and I can’t wait to begin a new chapter in my life.”

The teenager, who played badminton for Yorkshire, plans to join sports teams at university and explore new hobbies.

“I would like to thank the amazing teachers and the school for their tireless work to help me achieve my results and guide me through such an important time of my life.

The school officer, who was also involved in directing House drama, added: “Through unprecedented and difficult circumstances, the support and dedication from staff has been unwavering and for that, and many other things, I will always look fondly upon my time at RGS.