We are delighted to see Icenian’s James and Oscar celebrate their incredible achievements at the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Celebrations at Buckingham Palace. James and Oscar were invited to the event hosted by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in his first celebrations as Patron of the DofE charity. The celebration was one of four taking place over a week at the Palace, recognising around 9,000 young people who have shown extraordinary perseverance, creativity and resilience to complete their Gold DofE in schools, community organisations, youth groups and workplaces, all over the UK. Buckingham Palace Garden had been transformed into a festival-style celebration for young people and their loved ones, with giant deckchairs, bunting and garden games and activities. Attendees had the chance to hear from famous DofE Award holders and other inspiring speakers. The Gold DofE programme is a non-competitive personal challenge, open to all young people, which takes a minimum of 12 months to complete. Young people build their own programmes with activities in five sections – Physical, Skills, Volunteering, a five-day Residential and a four-day Expedition.
Icenian Oscar has given an account of the day and his time partaking in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold, below.
“In May I was very proud to attend my Gold Award celebration event at Buckingham Palace, hosted by The Duke of Edinburgh and attended by other Gold Award members and their guests. Achieving a Gold Award was the culmination of several years involvement in the scheme having done the Bronze and Silver Award in YR 9 and YR 11.
I started my Gold at the start of Lockdown. Although there were lots of restrictions on what I could do, with a bit of lateral thinking I was still able to cover all the sections, Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Residential and the all-important Expedition. In fact, being able to work on these sections during this challenging time really helped me to develop new skills, test my limits and develop confidence. I was able to do things that I loved such as keeping fit for the Physical section, or developing new skills such as DIY, as well as doing voluntary work to help my community.
However, the two sections I enjoyed the most were the residential and expedition activities. The residential pushed me out of my comfort zone having to meet new people in an unfamiliar setting and participate in a range of activities such as kayaking, sailing, and climbing. But it was the Expedition that was the most rewarding. I took part in the South Downs way walk. 160km of walking over a week carrying all our equipment. Crossing the line was a relief after a week of solid walking and with only one blister.
To anybody wishing to start DofE, I would highly recommend it as it’s not only really good fun, but develops key skills such as leadership, effective communication team work and decision making. The award is recognised by potential employers and universities as a mark of real personal development and achievement.”