On the 2nd of June I was invited to present the Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award and give a speech at St James's Palace by His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. I was honoured and extremely delighted to have been asked especially as I gained my Bronze, Silver and my Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award while still at school.
For those of you who don't know what the Duke of Edinburgh's Award entails it consists of the following:
- Volunteering - I worked in the British Red Shop charity shop.
- Skill - Singing
- Physical - Aerobics/ Gym
- Residential - I went to Lourdes to look after disabled people for a week.
I went to Andorra and hiked the mountains, camped on snow peaked mountain tops and met some friendly mountain goats who insisted on sharing our food lol. Duke of Edinburgh shaped my life and allowed me to experience life skills I never would have tried otherwise.
The Big Day
I arrived at St James's Palace and was given a private tour of some of the state rooms which were incredibly beautiful and interesting, it was amazing to see Henry VIII's fireplace. I then met the other presenters who were Mr Alan Hinkes, Mountaineer, Phoebe Smith, Editor of Wanderlust, Naga Munchetty, BBC News Reader, Mr Robert Lindsay, Actor, Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, Former MP and Minister of State/Writer and Broadcaster, Felicity Kendall CBE, Actress.
It was now time to give my speech to a rather large room filled with Gold Awardees and their parents about my journey from Duke of Edinburgh's Award to Wembley Stadium and how the Awards had changed my life. After giving my speech I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak to the Gold Awardees about where they travelled to and their achievements. His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh then came to speak to the Awardees about their achievement and where they had all been on their expeditions; it would appear all around the world. Once he had spoken to all of the Awardees the Duke of Edinburgh and myself had a wonderful conversation about my Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award, singing the national anthem and performing around the UK. He thanked me for giving up my time to join him.
Please see below photos taken at the award ceremony at St. James's Palace
“Having achieved your Gold DofE Award, all of you have shown the courage, self-belief, motivation and dedication to put yourself forward and work as a team to complete a challenge. Be safe in the knowledge that you have now joined a special, elite group that proves you are focused, resourceful, determined and that you will achieve. everything you have learnt during your DofE you can take with you in life’s next adventure