A SENIOR nurse at Musgrove Park Hospital has recalled the "bright boy" she went to school with now setting his sights on becoming the next Prime Minister.

Di Cooper, the senior sister in the hospital's cardiology department, was in the same year as Keir Starmer at primary school.

Mrs Cooper has fond memories of visiting the modest Starmer family house and of his family, although she lost touch with them many years ago.

But she has watched from afar as Sir Keir has carved out two successful careers, rising rapidly up the ladder in first the legal profession and subsequently in politics.

Both Mrs Cooper and Sir Keir lived in rural Surrey and attended the tiny Merle Common Primary School, which has since closed down.

She said: "His family lived very modestly in Broadham Green, near Oxted.

"Keir had an older sister Anna and a younger brother Nicky.

"They kept donkeys, which we also did. I think we got a donkey from them at one time. I remember going to their house.

"His mother suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis – I remember her deformed hands. This was the first time I was aware of this condition.

"To be honest I was totally unaware of their politics.

"I remember Keir as being quite a serious child.

"He passed his 11 plus and went to Reigate Grammar School. He was clearly a bright boy.

"I lost touch with him then. He would have been in the same year as Fatboy Slim - or Quentin Cook as he was then known - at Reigate Grammar."

Sir Keir went on to study law at Leeds University and then Oxford before working as a defence lawyer specialising in human rights and being appointed QC.

He would become Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service before being elected an MP in 2015.

The following year he was in Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet and after Labour's election defeat in December 2019 was chosen as leader of the party in April.