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Latest Story

8 Successful People Who Didn’t Get Good Exam Results

August 16th, 2018

A Level results day for students, teachers and parents begins with worry, expectation and nerves. It either turns out to be a day of joy and excitement or one of disappointment and feelings of despair. If you’re one of those people who hasn’t done as well as you’d hoped, it may

well feel like the end of the world, but it isn’t. These people either didn’t get good A levels, didn’t go to University, or don’t have a qualification to their name…and look where it got them.


Benedict Cumberbatch

Even though he started out at Harrow and did really well in his GCSE’s, by his own admission Cumberbatch says that “adolescence came late and I discovered girls, pot and all sorts of other things, so I got a bit lazy. That stagnated my growth a bit as far as being academic.”


J.K Rowling

Although she did pretty well in her A Levels, the creator of Harry Potter did not get into the University she had originally wanted to go to; Oxford. Instead she studied French and Classics at Exeter.


Sir Richard Branson

Branson has dyslexia and had poor academic performance; on his last day at school, his headmaster told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire…and we all know how that turned out.


Clare Balding

After getting bad results in A Level History and Latin, she took two years out and then ended up going to Cambridge.


Mark Kermode

Famous film critic, Mark Kermode says ‘mine were rubbish’ when talking about his own A Level results. At the age of 28 he earned a PhD in English at the University of Manchester.


Deborah Meadon

The fearsome business Dragon left school before even taking her A levels. Today she’s worth in excess of £40 million and has been awarded several honorary degrees.


Jo Fairley

You may not be familiar with her name, but I bet you’ve eaten her chocolate! Founder of the Green & Black chocolate empire and former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Jo left school at 16 without any A Levels


Albert Einstein

OK, so A levels may not have been around in his day, but Einstein was expelled from school for being a rebel and a dunce and ended up being lauded as one of the cleverest people who has ever lived, changing the way scientists and the rest of us understand the world.



More Stories

Wisdom, Quackery and Science… and a Brief History of Pottery

August 13th, 2018

Members of Abergavenny U3A  gathered recently for a feast of cream scones and fresh local strawberries and a good chat over tea. There were also sales of plants, homemade cakes and preserves donated by members to raise funds for the U3A group.   Two weeks later the group met for the monthly meeting at which […]

Gilwern U3A update

April 12th, 2018

“Be Prepared” is the Scouting movement’s motto, and one that Gilwern U3A has used when preparing for the 2018 programme of monthly speakers, so it was very apt that March’s speaker was Pat Hillman MBE, Deputy District Commissioner for Adult Support, Monmouthshire Scouts, talking about “Scouting – then and now”. Pat’s humorous and informative anecdotes […]

Appeal brings 40,000 poppies piling in

April 10th, 2018

Abergavenny sheep farmer Olwen Veevers is up to her eyes in poppies this month as parcels of the knitted and hand-made textile flowers pile in from thousands of knitters and fibre fans from all over the UK and abroad. So far, 40,038 poppies have been sent in support of an appeal by Wonderwool Wales, the […]

Volunteering for Wellbeing

April 9th, 2018

Bridges Centre is a lively organisation which remains true to its original aims: to build bridges between people from all parts of the community. Volunteering for Wellbeing works within Bridges Centre to promote happiness and wellbeing in Monmouthshire. We provide a range of wellbeing opportunities across the county such as social groups, providing companionship through […]

Love Zimbabwe Book Bonanza

April 5th, 2018

Local charity, Love Zimbabwe, run by David and Martha Holman are currently in the process of building a library/learning centre at the charity’s community centre in Domboshawa, Zimbabwe. This idea became reality, when in 2016 on one of their regular visits to the country, Martha and David consulted a local builder, and drew up plans […]

The Fourth Black Mountain Craft Market

April 4th, 2018

On Saturday 7th April, the Fourth Black Mountain Craft Market will be held in the Clarence Hall, Crickhowell, from 10am to 4pm. This event takes place every year to raise money for a charity that funds research into a potential cure for Crohn’s Disease – Crohn’s MAP Vaccine ( The charity was set up by […]

Nevill Hall League of Friends: Our Story

April 4th, 2018

Nevill Court built in 1860’s by 1920 became Nevill Hall Hospital. In 1927 the Victoria Hospital Needle Work Guild was founded, becoming the Victoria Linen Guild in 1936, eventually incorporated into the North Gwent Hospitals League of Friends, serving tea and homemade scones, chatting with patients being an important ‘cog’ in hospital life. In 1947 […]

Next Month’s Focus – Creative Pursuits

March 15th, 2018

Next month we celebrate Creative Pursuits. Do you spend your free time painting, drawing, writing, felting, knitting or crafting? Perhaps you’re interested in taking up a creative pursuit in 2018? April’s magazine will be perfect for you! The Abergavenny Writing Festival will be taking place in April, so we’ll be looking closely at that as […]

Medieval Marvels

March 8th, 2018

Churches before the Reformation were a riot of colour. Helen Morgan from Abergavenny Local Society reports Far from being whitewashed havens of tranquillity, church walls throbbed with images of saints and angels. In the early 1500s, churches might have been plain on the outside but inside they would have been rich with wall paintings, statues, […]