Corsham teenager aces A-levels in spite of dad’s death the day before final exam

This Is Wiltshire: Emma Simonsen and fellow student Rebecca Daniels after receiving their A-level results. Picture by Diane Vose Emma Simonsen and fellow student Rebecca Daniels after receiving their A-level results. Picture by Diane Vose

The mother of Corsham School A-level pupil Emma Simonsen has spoken of her pride in her daughter after she gained top results despite the death of her father the day before her last exam.

Emma, 18, gained an A, a B and a C plus an A* in her extended project qualification to win a place at Brunel University to study product design.

Her mother, Helen, said: “I am so proud of her, and her father would have been really proud as well.”

Erik Simonsen, 47, died on June 18, the day before Emma’s final exam and just weeks after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Emma, who was delighted at passing design technology product design, maths and physics, said: “It has been a difficult period for me but I was very pleased with my results. My dad died the day before my final exam but I knew he would have wanted me to carry on.”

Mrs Simonsen said: “Erik didn’t want to tell the children about his diagnosis. He had been unwell but because he didn’t smoke and was only 47 doctors didn’t immediately think it was cancer.

“He wanted Emma to get through her exams without us mentioning the ‘C’ word.

“He would have been very pleased: Brunel is the best university in the country for her subject.”

Emma, who has a condition that causes her to pull out her own hair, has also spoken out about the condition to help other sufferers of trichotillomania. She is working with Winchester-based charity, Fixers, which supports young people aged 16-25 to tackle issues of concern to them.

Mrs Simonsen, who also has two sons aged 12 and 16, said: “Emma’s condition is aggravated by stress, so having exams and the death of her father has made it worse.”

But on Thursday Emma, of Willow Close, Melksham, was celebrating with her friends at Corsham School as she opened her results. Fellow Corsham School pupil Amelia Lias, who got four A*s and won a place at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, to study bio-chemistry, said: “I was very pleased with the results. I did put a lot of work in.”

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