On 5th July, 2 young people from the Westside Open Group and Sir E Scott Open Group attended a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award presentation in the gardens of Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.

They received their Gold Award from guest presenter, Alison Walker, Broadcaster and Sports Journalist, after sharing their experiences with HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Forfar.

During the Gold Award Presentation, the prince congratulated the group from the Western Isles on their successes and heard about their DofE journeys, which took each young person 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.

The Earl of Wessex is Patron of a number of Scottish charitable organisations, such as The Edinburgh International Festival, the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and Badminton Scotland, and is also a Trustee of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, founded by his father, Prince Philip.

Those who achieve a Gold DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week long residential and plan and undertake an expedition in wild country. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Alice Murray, DofE Operations Manager at Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar, attended the presentation to see the group receive their Gold Awards, and said, “It was a lovely day to see both Tanya and Angus receive their Gold Awards after all their hard work, dedication & commitment in completing their Awards. 

"They have gained invaluable life skills along the way. We wish them every success as they go on to further studies and future employment."

Speaking about her DofE experience, Tanya Mackay who was one of the Gold Award holders at the presentation, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh experience has impacted me in numerous ways. 

"As part of expeditions, the walks through Isle of Lewis and Harris hills have not only helped me develop skills in areas such as map and compass reading, but also helped me gain self-confidence and life style skills. 

"The thing I enjoyed the most about the overall experience was being able to try out new activities such as Mua Thai and rugby, which I thoroughly enjoyed participating in.  As part of one of my volunteering I helped out at my local football development club where I coached young children from various age groups. 

"Through doing this I also gained my Level 1 coaching certificate, which I hope to progress in the future.  By gaining my Gold Duke of Edinburgh award I believe that it will contribute in many areas in the future such as employment.  It has brought many different challenges, however the overall experience has been very rewarding.”

Speaking about his DofE experience, Angus Campbell who was one of the Gold Award holders at the presentation, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my DofE experience.  I enjoyed all the opportunities and activities that I was able to take part in due to DofE.  It’s a very rewarding experience as it’s a very desirable thing to have on your CV and I like to think my experience on it helped me get a new job with Caledonian MacBrayne because of the skills and qualities I’ve gained from it.”

Nearly 21,000 young people started a DofE Award in Scotland last year through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions and youth groups.

To find out more about the DofE and how it enables young people to succeed, please visit www.DofE.org 

Pictured: Tanya Mackay from Westside Open Group and Angus Campbell from Sir E Scott Open Group at the Gold Award Presentations, Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh.