Last week, five young people from Derby Grammar School attended a presentation at Buckingham Palace, London, where they received their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards from celebrity presenter, Peter Andre, after sharing their experiences with Trustee for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), HRH The Earl of Wessex.

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

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.

Paul Hilliam, who is the DofE Manager at Derby Grammar School said, “We are delighted that our sixth formers Billy, Freya and Elliot, along with Old Derbeians Joseph and Isaac, were able to collect their awards at such a prestigious ceremony. Anybody who gains a Gold Award deserves significant recognition for demonstrating enormous determination and commitment – it can’t get better than a trip to Buckingham Palace!”

Speaking about his DofE experience, Elliot Butterworth, who was one of the Gold Award holders at last week’s presentation, said, “It was a really lovely day. The ceremony felt really intimate and special which is quite impressive when there were so many people there.

DofE has helped me develop many skills and also allowed me to discover new interests. The skills range from map reading and navigations to essential life skills like communication and teamwork.

You develop empathy and learn the importance of compromise and listening. I joined a badminton club for my bronze DofE and I am still playing now. This is just one example of the things you discover and learn about yourself when you are forced into a difficult situation or encouraged to take up something new you may never have tried without this opportunity.

The memories you make along the way just from spending a few days in the middle of nowhere with some of your best mates and only your immature sense of humour to keep you entertained are worth having as you will be talking about them for the rest of your life. My mum still talks about her experience and the funny stories she had when she did her DofE!  It’s something I will never forget.”

There are currently over 400,000 young people taking part in a DofE programme across the UK 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