Hosted by the Isle of Wight College for the third year running, there were 6 students achieving Gold, 9 taking Silver and 55 Bronze awards.
Guests were welcomed by Terry Gaskin, Head of Public Services at IW College. He thanked the Lord Lieutenant Sir Martin White, who presented the awards, for his fantastic support. Sir Martin has had the honour of presenting the awards for the past 3 years. As he retires in March this was one of his last official undertakings in that role.
Carol Taverner, DofE Facilitator, pointed out that the Duke of Edinburgh Award has been inspiring young people since 1956. She added the scheme is tailored to the individual needs of those taking part. Additionally, Carol said that the students are helped by a large number of parents/carers and volunteer group leaders. Carol encouraged younger students to try for the next level of award.
In the Bronze section, 20 achievers were from Island Innovations 6th Form College, whilst IW College boasted 17 students.
Most of those receiving awards shared their experiences of gaining skills, helping in the community, physical activities and expedition undertaking with the audience of families, friends and group leaders. Some recalled amusing experiences whilst others spoke of weather conditions ranging from frost on tents and thunderstorms to extreme Summer heat.
A total of 16 students reached the Silver standard. Island Innovations again led with 5 students honoured. All 3 of the successful IW College contingent were now going on to work for their Gold Awards.
Christ the King College had 4 recipients, 1 of whom, Ben Holdsworth, has since attained his Gold Award whilst Oliver Nolan was well on his way to this target.
This means the Island has now got a total Gold haul of 210+ since the award (then the Award Scheme) began in 1956.
At the presentations 5 of the 6 Gold award achievers were on hand to be honoured. Michael Archer from IW College was the sole absentee. All others were presented with badges and will receive their certificates at a ceremony at St. James’ Palace, London at a date in the future. A member of the Royal Family will be present at that ceremony.
For this section contenders have to undertake the skills, physical and community sections as well a longer, more demanding expedition plus the addition of a residential undertaking. Alice Chambers began her award experience with Cowes Youth Club before transferring to Newport Open Award Centre. She learnt to sail with UKSA and her expeditions involved sailing along the south coast before a trip to France.
Daniel Ramsbottom-Clarke (IW College) undertook a canal boat trip learning to negotiate locks along the way. Ellie Burke (Island Innovations) chose to volunteer teaching in Cambodia before moving on to Thailand for a sightseeing trip of the Thai Islands.
Abbie-Louise Howard and Timothy Pearl attended Sandown Bay Academy. Their expedition took them to the Lake District, experiencing the hilly terrain and stunning lakes. Abbie taught children in Kenya and is now teaching in an Island school using some of her Kenya experiences to inspire the children here.
Sir Martin White spoke of his support of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and how the experiences and skills gained in obtaining them can change lives and provide self-confidence.
Report by Alan and Suzanne Whitewood