YOUNG VOICES

Student Rory Walsh, Who Rushed To Help Grenfell Victims Night Before Final Exam, Passes A Levels

'I'd rather help people - this is my community.'

17/08/2017 14:05 BST | Updated 17/08/2017 16:21 BST

A teenager who spent the hours before his A Level exam helping Grenfell victims on the night of the blaze has passed all of his exams. 

Rory Walsh, who lives across the road from Grenfell, rushed to the scene of the tower to help his neighbours after hearing about the deadly fire on June 14.  

But despite giving up precious hours of sleep and revision ahead of his English literature and language exam, the 18-year-old has managed to pass all of his A Levels. 

Achieving D grades in his English, media and film studies A Levels, Walsh admitted he was “disappointed” not to earn Cs - but said he believes he made the right decision. 

After waking up around 1.30am on the night of the blaze to calls of “fire”, the teenager ran from his bed to open his dad’s local social club. 

He told HuffPost UK: “We haven’t got much, but we had tea, coffee and a warm place to sit. We thought it was better than them sitting on the street watching their building burning. 

Reuters/ PA Images
The teen rushed to help victims of the Grenfell fire hours before his final English exam 

Walsh continued: “Yeah, I just wanted to sleep the night before my exam - but that’s what they [the Grenfell residents] wanted to do too and they couldn’t do that.

“Why should I be selfish? If I was in that situation, I would want people to do what they could to help me.” 

The student, who received numerous calls on the way to his exam from friends worried he lived in the tower, said he spent around 30 minutes on the paper before rushing back to volunteer. 

Arguing that there are more important things than “some stupid letters on a piece of paper”, the Richmond upon Thames college student said: “I’d rather help people - this is my community. They are people I have known since I was a kid.

“Even if I don’t see them on a daily basis and just not at them in the street, they are still part of my community and part of my childhood.” 

PA Wire/PA Images
Walsh at the Grenfell volunteer centre the day after the blaze 

Walsh - who plans to become a personal trainer - has since been awarded a Jack Petchey prize by his college to recognise his selflessness, with the teen using the £250 to help develop a garden for special needs students. 

“I thought on the night of the fire - ‘I’m going to do what I can, so at least I can say I tried’.”  

Walsh’s comments come on the same day Kensington and Chelsea council announced that pupils who took their exams in the wake of the fire could have their results reviewed.

Elizabeth Campbell, leader of the Tory council, said she wanted to “ensure that their chances of a university or sixth form place are not impacted by something totally out of their control”. 

“The council has written to schools and made support available as pupils come to collect GCSE and A Level results over the next two weeks. We will also be there with help when the first day of term arrives in September,” she added.