Challenges are individual... | Portsmouth High School

Challenges are individual…

Recently I was honoured and privileged to accompany girls, along with Mr Field and Mrs Marshallsay, to a variety of events that celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Prince Phillip first announced the scheme in 1956 and back then it was just for boys aged 15-18 but girls were shortly included and last year nearly 112,000 young people received their award at one of the levels of bronze, silver or gold.

The programme requires participants to spend time acquiring new skills, testing their physical ability, giving something back by volunteering and to undertake a camping expedition. At gold level a residential activity is added to the other sections. It is worth attempting and completing; last year only 0.03% of young people of that age category who could achieve the gold award were actually presented with this standard. All levels of the scheme show resilience, commitment, dedication and a willingness to put yourself out of your comfort zone and try something new and this is what makes, especially the gold award, something truly special to have achieved.

A couple of weeks ago I travelled by hovercraft to the Isle of Wight with a group of young D of E participants and HRH the Earl of  Wessex. Our three sixth formers actually sat with Prince Edward for the journey and had the opportunity to talk about how the award works in our school.  Then last

Friday evening we all attended a special service at Winchester Cathedral followed by on Monday a gold award ceremony in the gardens of Buckingham Palace where we witnessed Victoria Thurlby and Zarina Robson from last year’s sixth form receive their award from HRH the Countess of Wessex.

If your daughter is currently undertaking any aspect of the award please be aware that there is some administration to be done of uploading evidence online for her to complete the process and then receive her award. If you feel that you have missed out on being able to participate when younger then this year for the 60th anniversary there is the D of E Diamond Challenge which asks everyone from any age to take on their own adventure, personal and skill challenge. After a registration fee you are asked to raise at least £60 to help provide funds for young people who are living in financially poor circumstances and would not otherwise be able to take part. The Countess of Wessex, for example, is to cycle from Holyroodhouse to Buckingham Palace. When we met her on Monday many of us were asked what we were doing for our challenge and I was surrounded by people running, walking and cycling impressive distances and canoeing even further. My challenge is to de-clutter my life and raise funds by using eBay to sell some of the “stuff” I really don’t need. Challenges are individual.