Young people gain Duke of Edinburgh awards at Heathfield

DofE presentation
DofE presentation

More than 30 high achieving young people were joined by parents, friends and youth leaders for the presentation of their Duke of Edinburgh awards last Thursday.

The presentations took place at the Welcome Church, Alexandra Road, Heathfield.

Awards were in bronze, silver and gold categories and saw the youngsters embark on some life-changing expeditions as well as acquire new skills and devote their time to good causes.

The DofE scheme aims to provide an enjoyable, challenging and rewarding programme of personal development for young people, helping them - so organisers say - reach their full potential.

Anyone aged betwen 14 and 24 can undertake a DofE programme at one of the three progressive levels. To achieve the awards they must show persistence, commitment and personal development.

Under the volunteering banner, the young people chose initiatives as varied as caring for animals, coaching cricket or football and playing the drums in a church band.

Sheena Moody (Bronze) fundraised for the Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare while Ben Tyler (Silver) became a Scout leader.

Physical achievements come high on the list and include windsurfing by Amy Guy (Bronze,) kayaking by Jake Hilton (Gold) and archery by Emily Padgham (Silver.)

The youngsters also had to demonstrate that they had acquired a new skill. These included learning to play the ukelele (Jason Goring, Bronze), working as a computer trainee technician (Joshua Pinard, Bronze), church bell ringing (Andrew Goswell, Silver) and taking part in the highly acclaimed Batacuda Drum Band (Oliver de Rosa, Gold.)

Organiser Roger Stevenson said: “I can’t emphasise enough just how hard these young people have worked and they all justly deserve their awards. They are not given lightly - every one of them has achieved their medal by application and enthusiasm. Well done to all.”

One of the most demanding aspects of every level of the programme is an expedition. These include hiking substantial distances and sleeping under canvas, whatever the weather. Lottie Adams (Bronze) chose the Ashdown Forest, also chosen by Emma Smith and Maisie Stevens while Elizabeth Wood (Bronze) chose the East Sussex Downs. The West Sussex Downs were chosen by a group in the Silver category while the Gold achievers went further afield into Cumbria, the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons. At Thursday’s presentation the youngsters were shown videos of expeditions.