Young People Strike Gold in Winchester

Some 57 young people struck gold when they received the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Gold Award on 1 July, at an event organised by the DofE’s Hampshire Forum, and supported by Hampshire County Council.

At the ceremony in the Great Hall, Winchester, recipients were presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Guest of Honour, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire, Mr Nigel Atkinson, who is also the President of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Hampshire. 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 to DofE.”

Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council and a Forum Vice President, who attended the event, said: “I congratulate the young people on their Gold Awards – it is a great achievement of which they can all be very proud. The Duke of Edinburgh Award offers young people wonderful opportunities to learn new skills, meet others and learn from experiences which will stand them in good stead as they progress through their lives.”

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.

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. While undertaking the Gold Award, a young person will typically give more than 50 hours of volunteering, spend a total of eighteen months learning skills and physical activities, and undertake a four-day expedition in terrain classified as ‘wild country’ – from Snowdonia and The Lake District, to Scotland and Morocco – camping overnight, carrying all their kit, and being fully self-sufficient.

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Those going for Gold are also required to spend at least five days away from home on a challenge with a group of people not previously known to them. The young people attending the awards event had undertaken everything from crewing tall ships, helping disadvantaged and disabled children at residential camps, and undertaking their National Citizen Service, to working with local communities in South Africa, Tunisia and Mexico, as well as volunteering at Lourdes in France.

More than 150 supporters joined the celebration at the Great Hall, which included a presentation by Elizabeth Harvey from Hampshire Scouts, and a formal presentation where members of the Hampshire Youth Forum read out the details of each young person’s Gold achievement, and assisted the Lord-Lieutenant with the presentation. Mike Gilham from the Hampshire School of Music provided background music.

A number of civic dignitaries and guests were also present to offer their congratulations to the young people. These included Mr Tom Floyd, High Sheriff of Hampshire and Councillor Keith Chapman, Chairman of Hampshire County Council.

Civic leaders from across the county, led by the Mayor of Winchester, together with representatives from voluntary organisations also came to honour the young people’s achievements. Forum Vice Presidents, Mr Ian Greig, Mrs Ingrid Carding and Brigadier Ray Bradbury were also present.

“DofE represents a major challenge, and gaining the Gold Award is a real achievement,” said Martin King, the 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.”

More information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Hampshire

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