Young Citizen: Hard-working Duval, 16, gets good grades despite crippling illness

PUBLISHED: 17:00 06 September 2018

Duval Gatson scored good grades despite being in and out of hospital in the last year. Pic: Isabel Infantes

Duval Gatson scored good grades despite being in and out of hospital in the last year. Pic: Isabel Infantes


A hard-working student who scored high marks in his GCSEs despite battling a crippling kidney disease is this week's Young Citizen Award nominee.

Duval Gaston, of Baden Road, Ilford, achieved grades 8, 7 and 6 across the board in his GCSEs despite being in and out of hospital suffering from nephrotic syndrome, which leaves him with chronic tiredness.

“I am pleased, honoured and thrilled to be nominated as Young Citizen and those who know me will note, I have managed to overcome tremendous odds,” said the 16-year-old.

Duval described his parents as his “rock” and told the Recorder that maintaining a positive mental attitude throughout his studies was key.

“There were moments when I experienced weakness, numbness, stomach cramps and extreme fatigue with lots of fluid retention in my legs which made it almost impossible to carry on with the exams,” he said.

But added: “The journey was not easy, but with the encouragement from the teachers I was able to make it through the entire term and came out victorious, they are my hero.”

Duval is a student at Forest Gate Community School.

Aside from his studies, he has also helped coach and mentor young children at Chobham Academy Football Team.

This year he will study English, maths and law.

After leaving school, he has dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

Headteacher Charlotte Whelan, who nominated Duval, testified to his tremendous work ethic.

“He is always at school very early in the morning,” she said.

“I arrive at close to seven and he is already there.”

She added: “He really puts in the work and the effort to achieve his goals.”

The Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award is about celebrating the amazing young people in our borough.

It is run by the Recorder in conjunction with Redbridge Rotary Club, and sponsored by The Exchange shopping centre, Ilford, which provides each monthly winner with a £30 gift card.

The Young Citizen of the Year will be crowned at the Mayor’s Community Awards.

You can nominate any person who lives or works in Redbridge, as long as they are under 25, by emailing

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