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DofEwestridgeA milestone for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award on the Island was reached recently at a presentation ceremony, when Lewis Coulter, who worked for his Award via Sandown Bay Academy, became the 200th recipient of the coveted Gold Award.

Held at the Community Learning Centre at Westridge in Ryde, the assembled audience was welcomed by Carol Taverner, the Island’s DofE facilitator.

Carol paid tribute to all the people who work behind the scenes who enable the young people to achieve their awards. She pointed out that the young people gain confidence, self sufficiency and an entry on their CVs which are important in today’s job seekers market.

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Although hiking was the most popular method of undertaking their expeditions, participants also undertook expeditions using the more unusual methods of transport, cycling, canoeing and sailing.

Chairman of the Isle of Wight Council Cllr Ian Ward, a retired army officer, said the forces favoured entrants who had showed endeavour by gaining an award. Time spent in the community, volunteering, learning new skills, keeping fit, and meeting new people, all help to build self confidence and develop young people for future adult life and work.

He was honoured to be asked to present the awards and was pleased to confirm that the Isle of Wight Council had agreed to fund DofE on the Island for a further three years although terms and conditions had not been agreed to date and were subject to budget agreements.

Cllr Ward said:

“Last year the Isle of Wight Council registered 176 more participants to make a total 666 currently on roll. DofE was adopted by the IWC as a programme of accreditation for young people in the early 1960’s, soon after it was created by the Duke of Edinburgh.

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“Tonight we have our 200th Gold achiever. DofE has been developing young people for 58 years, now, and is as suitable and attractive to them now, as it was in 1956.”

DofE is available to all young people aged between 14 and 25, and they can get support from schools, colleges and voluntary youth organisations.

In total 26 young people were awarded at the event – 9 had achieved bronze and 13 silver since the last presentation ceremony in March 2014.

Bronze Award Achievers:

Freddie Chessell- Island Innovation IVForm
Blake Lucas-IYWAC
Charlotte Phillips- Newport Open Award Centre
Bethany Capon, George Woodburn- Christ the King College
Lydia Cole, Alysha Fairweather, Siobhan Quinn & James Stirling- Sandown Bay Academy.

Silver Award Achievers:

Victoria Wild-S Wight Open Award Centre
Oliver Scragg- IYWAC
Bethany Crabbe, Lucy Scholes, Fenn Kennedy, Kerryn Parkinson-Scott, Albion Sothcott- Newport Open Award Centre
Abbie Howard- Sandown Bay Academy.
Sophie Bishop, Paige Guy, David Littleton, Amy Mundell, Amelia Rusling- Island Innovation IVForm

4  young people had successfully tackled the Gold challenge, including a trio from Sandown Bay Academy. Lewis Coulter took up tennis as his sport and learnt to drive in the skills category. His residential experience involved a stint as a security guard at a music festival in Wiltshire.

Stanley Crawley and Jordan Strobach-Morris studied the local flora on an expedition in the Lake District. Whilst Stanley undertook film making Jordan studied astro-physics on a course involving rocket building.

Rebecca Metcalf undertook her challenges under the aegis of IYWAC. Her expedition involved sailing to the Channel Islands via Cherbourg. Her love of the water was reflected in the fact she taught sailing at Gurnard Sailing Club, volunteered with the Life Guards and undertook Scuba Diving in Wales whilst on her residential element.

Cllr Ward presented certificates and badges to the Bronze and Silver recipients and badges to the Gold award holders as they will receive their certificates at an Award Ceremony held at St. James Palace, London sometime in the future. These ceremonies are attended either by the Duke of Edinburgh (now 93) or the Duke of Wessex, who is a Gold Award holder. Rebecca will be attending a ceremony in January 2015.

Photograph: Suzanne Whitewood/DofE Forum

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