The Lord-Lieutenant said: “These young people have demonstrated a huge amount of commitment and determination to gain this very prestigious award, and they can be very proud of their achievement. I know they will all have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge too. As there is a real need for leaders to train the next generation of young participants, I would urge them to continue their good work and enjoyment by offering their time and skills as volunteers for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.”
Also present at the celebration was Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council and a Vice President of the Forum. He said: “I commend all of those who undertake to achieve a Duke of Edinburgh's Award. To take that achievement to Gold level is to be congratulated especially - these Award holders should be very proud of their achievement, which is tremendous. Working towards a Duke of Edinburgh's Award offers young people wonderful opportunities to learn new skills, meet new people and learn from experiences that will stand them in good stead for their future.”
“DofE represents a major challenge, and gaining the Gold Award is a real achievement,” said Martin King, Chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Hampshire Forum; “I hope to see many more young people following in their footsteps in the years to come.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a nationwide scheme, requiring participants to spend time volunteering, learning or improving a skill, taking part in a physical activity, and undertaking an expedition with a group of friends. Camping and canoeing expeditions, overseas adventures, volunteering and crewing Tall Ships were just some of the challenges undertaken by the young people as they worked towards gaining their awards.
In the case of the Gold Award, a young person will typically give over 50 hours of volunteering, spend a total of eighteen months on the skill and physical activities, and undertake a four-day expedition in terrain classified as “Wild Country” - from Snowdonia and the Yorkshire Dales, to Scotland, Dartmoor and the Brecon Beacons - camping overnight, carrying all their kit, and being fully self-sufficient.
Those going for Gold are also required to spend at least five days away from home on a challenge with people they don’t know. The young people attending the awards event had undertaken everything from crewing Tall Ships, to helping disadvantaged and disabled children at residential camps, to undertaking their National Citizen Service, to working with local communities in Kenya, spending time at CERN in Geneva and attending the Scout Jamboree in Finland.
As well as the formal awards ceremony, the audience also heard from:
• Kate Willett of the Alton Open DofE Centre about her experiences at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Alabama
• Maddy Crews from the Hampshire Youth Forum, and
• Ryan Niezgoda from the Basingstoke Open Centre, who read out the details of each young person’s Gold achievements.
A musical backdrop was provided by Hampshire County Council’s Music Service.
In addition to parents and friends of the Award winners, a number of civic dignitaries and guests also attended, including:
• Mark Thistlethwayte, High Sheriff of Hampshire
• Councillor Charles Choudhary, Vice-Chairman of Hampshire County Council
• Councillor Frank Pearson, the Mayor of Winchester
• and Forum Vice Presidents: Vice Admiral Mike Gretton, Ian Greig, Giles Curtis and Brigadier Ray Bradbury.
For more information about participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award contact:
• Charley Mills (DofE Manager, Hampshire County Council) Tel. 01962 876218 or email: email@example.com
• Martin King (Chairman, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Hampshire Forum) Tel. 01264 772872 or email:firstname.lastname@example.org