Duke of Edinburgh's Award

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Joe Murrell Gold Award at Palace

It was a privilege to be invited to St James's Palace on the day that Joe Murrell received his Gold Award certificate from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke spent some time talking with young people who had achieved their awards through BB and Scouts — including Callum Boud from Ash Scouts who had undertaken his expedition with 2nd Alton BB! The certificates were then presented on the Duke's behalf by Arlene Phillips, who for many years was one of the judges in "Strictly Come Dancing", and she encouraged them, having "Gone for Gold", to continue striving towards their own personal goals.

Joe Murrell (left) with Andrew Johnston, Boys' Brigade CEO, outside St James's Palace

I arrived home to find confirmation that another Gold Award had been gained! For four years — far longer than the one year set as a minimum by DofE — Daniel Taylor has been working as a volunteer at The Devil's Punchbowl, doing everything from litter-picking to dealing with fallen trees! He chose Tennis as his physical activity, and for two years he undertook reading as his skill activity, under the capable guidance of Gordon Frater. He spent a week as a member of a National Trust volunteer team planting flowers in the formal gardens of Waddesden Manor, near Aylesbury, and undertook his 50-mile expedition with us in the hills of Southern Scotland. Congratulations, Daniel!

Mention of Gordon reminds me of the huge debt we owe to the large number of individuals who agree to act as mentors or assessors in their own skill areas, thus enabling the young people to set and achieve meaningful targets as they undertake their DofE. These people offer of their time and their enthusiasm, and their encouragement of the participants is absolutely invaluable.

Our expedition training starts once more in the New Year, with the first meeting in the church on Wednesday 13th January. Bronzes meet at 7.30pm, and Silvers and Golds at 8.30pm. Please do pass on these details to anyone in School Year 9 or above. (That's "Third Year Secondary" to us oldies!)

David Allan (84739).

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