Royal approval for Heathfield’s gold winners

Gold presentation
Gold presentation

Gold was the colour for Heathfield’s ‘Magnificent Seven’ - a group of young people who headed to London last Thursday.

May 8 was the special day for the seven-strong group from the Welcome Baptist Church’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme.

They were invited to receive their Gold Award at St James’s Palace in London in the presence of the scheme patron, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Before the presentations, Inge Solheim, a leader of polar expeditions, including the Walking with the Wounded expedition in which Prince Harry took part, talked about his experiences and inspired the young people to aim high and take on new challenges.

The Duke of Edinburgh also took time to talk to some of the young people about their experiences in doing the Award.

All the young people, aged from 18 to 25, are from Heathfield and nearby villages with the exception of Liam Gordon from Tunbridge Wells. They are all currently working or studying.

Dan Tyler spent time doing hard, physical clearance work in the Sussex Wildlife Trust’s 11 hectare Cross-in-Hand nature reserve, Selwyn’s Wood in Firgrove Road, as part of the volunteering section of the award.

Dan Miller continued learning to play the saxophone to a high standard for his skill section and Dan Hilton went on the church’s youth sailing holiday for his residential qualification.

Daniela Hofer underwent a gruelling mountain leader training week in North Wales for the residential section of the scheme while Joe Benians took part in rugby and swimming for the physical section.

Liam Gordon volunteered at an Activenture Camp, helping disadvantaged children have a week’s holiday in the country and George Moody was a member of Heathfield’s highly valued Youth Council for his skill section.

Co-organiser Mary Stevenson said: “They all said they had a wonderful and rewarding time. The scheme takes about four years from Bronze to Gold and the fact that young people have shown commitment means it is valued by employers and as part of a university application process.”

The Award also fits the Welcome Church’s Christian aims, being concerned for the whole person, body, mind and spirit.

Award organisers say the achievement gives people skills, confidence, memories to last a lifetime, makes you fitter and healthier as well as making a difference to other people’s lives.