By: Blonde One

How very lucky I felt on a recent trip to Buckingham Palace to celebrate the achievement of three of my Gold DofE participants. They worked tirelessly for two years to get their Award and a trip to the Palace was no more than they deserved.

The day was perfect; it included perfect weather, very well dressed mums and dads and celebrity overload. The certificates were awarded to the participants by Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, who was engaging, funny and very interested in the Gold Award participants.

After the Earl had done his bit we were treated to an inspirational speech by Andy Lewis MBE who told us a very poignant story of how his ‘never give up’ attitude turned him from a non-swimmer to a Olympic Gold medal winning Paralympic triathlete in the space of less than 10 years.

All of my three students could tell a similar story of how they didn’t give up, despite wanting to several times. They each fought with something during the process but showed how a little bit of Trinity resilience and courage can go a long way. I felt very privileged to work with this group as they battled obstacles such as self-doubt, Dartmoor wild fires and the logistics of being an A level student while trying to fit in this enormous challenge. The day also confirmed to me that this Award has huge value that goes way beyond the expedition skills that teams learn when trudging across a barren, tempestuous Dartmoor. The value is also held in the celebrity and Royal validation, the prestige of such an event and its location, and the public display of celebration.

Well done! This day, and your Gold Award in general, is very richly deserved!