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Hitchin’s Max is in his element! Year 5 pupil wows schoolmates with amazing powers of recall to complete charity challenge

Whitehill Junior School Year 5 pupil Max Emson triumphantly took on the challenge of recalling the entire tabular arrangement of 118 chemical elements in a class assembly to raise money for Oxfam’s Ebola appeal.

A delighted Whitehill headteacher Steve Mills said: “What Max did was fantastic in recalling all the elements of the periodic table.

“I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning yet he was recalling it in order, backwards and upside down!

“By his mum’s own admission, Max is the sort of chap who once he gets his teeth into something he really goes for it.

“It’s one thing to have this amazing ability but it’s another thing completely to use it for the greater good too, so although he got obsessed by it he also managed to raise money for charity too which is very impressive.

“One of the things I love about this school is we teach the national curriculum with an international perspective – which gives us a global view on subject matter. So when Max decides to raise money to combat world concerns such as Ebola we can put it into context.

“Primary school teaching can be a bit dry but with Max’s passion for learning we were more than happy to support this activity.

“Our pupils were behind Max all the way. When he finished he didn’t just get a round of applause – it went on for some time. If they could have given him a standing ovation I think they would have done. Max took it in his stride and had a beaming smile.

“The reason he was in a toga while he did the challenge was because he was about to perform an abridged version of Julius Caesar with his classmates afterwards – we’ve a very talented set of pupils here!”

Max’s mum Helena Hon added: “I was very pleased. It went very well, it’s a very positive thing.

“I’m not sure if Max has a photographic memory or whether he uses number recognition but his achievement is certainly memorable.

“He’s been really supported by the school so it’s nice for him to be able to give something back.

“It was actually his birthday on the day. He gave me very specific instructions.

“He didn’t want a party but he did ask for a birthday cake with at least 80 per cent chocolate in. I only managed 70 per cent, but I think he was OK with it!”