On Monday 16th May Lizzie Parton and I were awarded our Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, two years late! We were finally able to celebrate with a garden party at Buckingham Palace and brought along our biggest supporters, our Mums.
Lizzie and I met at a toddler play group in the Village Hall, led by her Mum Andrea Parton. Since then, we have been to St Oswald's Primary School, Malbank Secondary School and College together. Now, Lizzie is studying Environment and Business at the University of Leeds and is just about to start a placement, while I am studying English Literature and Drama at the University of Exeter, and will enter into my final year in September 2022.
We completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award (D of E) whilst studying at Sir John Deans College, starting in 2019 and completing it in 2020 during the pandemic.
For those who are unfamiliar, D of E contains 5 sections: Physical, Skill, Volunteering, Residential and the famous Expedition. We took slightly different approaches to the challenges, with myself using my National Citizenship award as my Residential and Mandy Morris' Yoga Classes at the Village Hall as my Physical. Lizzie chose Horse Riding and Pony club. We both volunteered at the local Worleston Brownie group for 18 months and completed our Skill by passing our driving tests, (eventually).
Due to the pandemic, we weren't able to immediately visit the palace, and received our certificates and invitations to the palace in the post in February. The event was hosted by HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, who is due to become the next Duke of Edinburgh. We enjoyed complimentary tea and cake whilst listening to Captain Mike Bannister speak of his own engaging experience of completing the D of E award and how it helped him become a pilot, eventually flying for Concord and the Red Arrows. Lizzie and I both agree that completing D of E has allowed us to gain insightful experiences which has been vitally useful for University and Job applications, whilst also exemplifying our commitment and resilience. We would highly recommend Gold D of E to any young person looking to take part. Overall, the day was lovely. It installed a sense of pride in what we had achieved and gratitude for the instructors, leaders & family members who had supported us along the way. The photos I've included were taken throughout the day. My favourite was the giant deck chairs branded with the slogan "youth without limits". Despite surviving four days camping in the Lake District for the Gold Expedition, my own "limit" (turns out) was reached on the Palace lawns where I gave up wearing my heels 10 minutes in!
Faye Hough. Church Minshull.