Emily Pilbeam swapped a place at university for life in Leeds trying to break into the world of new music and radio presenting and the gamble has paid off.
The 20-year-old from Elm earned a place at Salford University after achieving excellent GCSE and A-level results at Marshland High School.
But instead of heading off to uni she decided to defer her place for a year to see if she could make it in the competitive world of radio.
Two years on she is finally reaping the rewards of her endeavours with permanent roles with the BBC in Leeds, York and Hull. She also works for Radio 1 helping out with top shows including Greg James, Scott Mills and Annie Mac.
Not only that she has recently earned her own slot on Radio 6 discussing her love of new music and playing the bands she has discovered after impressing one of the presenters with her knowledge.
Proud mum Rachel Cooper said: “Emily has worked so hard. She has always loved music and really got into it as a teenager. She was a big rock fan and loved the band Pulled Apart by Horses and used to Tweet them all the time.
“Now she is mates with the group. Her passion for radio started when she used to volunteer for hospital radio and was regularly presenting at the age of 15. By 16 she was spending a lot of her time writing without pay for websites and interviewing new bands. She enjoyed work placements with newspapers including the Fenland Citizen and also for big names like the NME in London.
“After her A-levels she decided to defer going to university so she could spend a year in Leeds - which is quite an important place for new music - to further her dreams. The year has now turned into a permanent deferment but she is loving what she is doing.
“She spent the first year pursuing a career in new music and after working in bars, making contacts and organising gigs she got a job as a team assistant at BBC Leeds - she was then offered a similar role in Hull and York and she spreads her time doing that as well as working on the Radio 1 shows. She says they are all really nice people and very supportive, but she particularly likes working with Annie Mac as that is more her style - she focuses a lot on new bands and break through music, which Emily loves.”
Rachel believes Emily got her general love of music from her, and her love of heavier rock from her dad Phil Pilbeam - a Wisbech firefighter - who introduced Emily to groups like ACDC.
“She really has worked incredibly hard to achieve what she has and I’m so proud of her. She was determined to live her dream and so far it has paid off. I would like to think she will go to university one day, but for now she is doing what she loves and that’s fantastic,” added Rachel.