It was a lovely, bright sunny day in the gardens of Buckingham Palace on Thursday when four of our seven latest Gold, Duke of Edinburgh Award achievers were present with their mothers to receive their certificates.
There were thirty-six groups of fifty students, each allocated a royal personage, The Earl & Countess of Wessex and the Princess Royal, to speak to them and a celebrity to award the certificates. Our group was visited by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and we were lucky to be allocated an A-lister celebrity in Paul Hollywood. (if only because I could recognise him). Mary Berry was also present but they did not seem to have much to say to each other and I think we got better value with Paul.
After the royal visit, Paul spoke to the students about the importance and value of taking on a challenge. He also challenge the parents and teachers present to take up the 2018 Duke of Edinburgh Challenge to raise funds to help support children from disadvantaged backgrounds to access the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. He even offered his own challenge with three baking recipes for participants to choose from. He will judge the photographic entries and give two winners and their guest passes to attend one of the episodes of Bake Off. Just google DofE Challenge 2018 for details, but give them a week or so to get Paul’s challenge onto the site.
It was lovely to meet four of our successful students, Molly Ashmeade, Ed Birt, Heather Christie and Tim Hubbard, and to catch up with their progress at university. They are all pleased with their university choices and all looked cheerful and happy. Congratulations to them and also Will Hopes, Alice Kennedy and Alicia Wells who all achieved their Gold Award this year.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award continues to be rated by employers and universities as 2nd & 3rd most important evidence of “soft skills” for the volunteering aspect and in its own right. We value this award, because we also see how the experiences and challenges really helps our students to develop greater resilience and confidence.
Finally, I would just like to scotch any rumours that any of our group from Sir Thomas Rich’s found the mispronunciation of another local school as a type of meat paste is completely untrue!