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Anna Friel with Sarah Sanctuary and Michael Hall from Bedford Modern

Shining stars

Independent schools commemorate the diamond anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Posted by Hannah Oakman | June 24, 2016 | School life

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), the leading youth achievement award, is celebrating its Diamond anniversary this year. 

Bedford Modern School (BMS) Headmaster, Michael Hall and BMS DofE Award Manager, Sarah Sanctuary were recently presented with a plaque by actress Anna Friel at Buckingham Palace, celebrating the success of BMS as a licenced DofE Award centre. 

The prestigious garden party formed part of the 60th anniversary celebrations, attended by The Duke of Edinburgh alongside numerous celebrities. The school had the opportunity to present Anna Friel with a fabric BMS emblem badge, which all DofE schools in the Central Region have gifted to the charity. The badge will contribute to the creation of a special collage to commemorate this year’s celebrations. 

Members of the Royal Family; HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex, congratulated those who were invited to attend.

To be involved with this worthwhile charity is incredibly rewarding; both students and staff develop extremely valuable skills on this journey

The DofE is a long-established award which has been received by many BMS students. Today, the school currently has 231 students actively involved with the charity. 

Sarah Sanctuary said: “It’s always a huge honour to be invited to such occasions. To be involved with this worthwhile charity is incredibly rewarding; both students and staff develop extremely valuable skills on this journey. 

“I look forward to seeing more of our students receiving their DofE award in the near future.”

Headmaster, Michael Hall, added: “It was tremendous to see the array of schools and colleges who take part in the DofE scheme. Whilst the awards are challenging to achieve, I very much support the ethos of service and outreach as well as the appreciation of the outdoors and other skill developments.”

Teachers from Derby High School were also presented with a special plaque at the anniversary celebrations.

Sue Peake and Carole Riley, who lead the scheme, attended the DofE Gold Award Presentation and received the plaque from Anna Friel, acknowledging the commitment to running the DofE and thanking it for giving young people the opportunity to transform their lives.

They included Gold Award achievers such as Derby High School student Esther Taylor, who was awarded her medal.

Derby High School teachers Carole Riley, Sue Peake and student Esther Taylor

Derby High School has been delivering the DofE for four years as a licensed centre and since then 151 students have achieved an award after volunteering in their community, learning a skill, getting fit, going on an expedition and taking part in a week-long residential for the Gold award. 

Sue Peake said she was proud of Derby High School’s involvement in the scheme.

“Our young people are encouraged to push themselves outside of their comfort zones when doing their DofE and the skills that they develop can be life-changing, so for us to be involved is something very special,” she said. “We are also proud to say that Esther Taylor received her Gold medal on the same day.”

Peter Westgarth, chief executive of the DofE Charity, said: “Through the DofE, Derby High School is inspiring the success of its young people; equipping them with the attributes and skills to get a job and build strong relationships whilst opening up their worlds and introducing them to a broad range of interests. We are truly grateful to all of our Licensed Organisations for the work that they do, they are an integral part of the DofE family, and our Diamond Anniversary is a fantastic opportunity to say thank you.”  

Two pupils from St Swithun’s School in Winchester also attended the ceremony at Buckingham Palace to receive their gold Duke of Edinburgh award certificates. The girls joined more than 1,000 young people at the event as part of the anniversary celebrations. Lydia Robinson and Jess Fennell, both aged 18, completed their gold expedition in the Breacon Beacons in July 2015. They were presented with their certificates by Jennie Bond, former BBC royal correspondent.

Jess and Lydia from St Swithun's

As part of the diamond anniversary Lydia and Jess took part in the DofE Diamond Challenge for which participants were asked to take on their own challenge and raise at least £60 for the DofE organisation. For their challenge, Lydia and Jess competed in a 15km ‘Rough Runner’ obstacle course event at Bereleigh Estate near Petersfield.

Lydia said: “The whole day at Buckingham Palace was amazing as the weather was great, the gardens were beautiful and I managed to speak to Prince Philip albeit briefly.” 

Jess said: “Completing DofE gold was a huge challenge but incredibly rewarding and it was such a privilege to be invited to the palace, probably a once in a lifetime experience.”

Bedford Modern School: www.bedmod.co.uk 

Derby High School: www.derbyhigh.derby.sch.uk 

St Swithun’s School: www.stswithuns.com 

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