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L-R: James Stirling ,Alice Lyons, Maj Gen Martin White, Beth Gordon and Oliver Scragg
Photo: Suzanne Whitewood

A record number of young people from the Isle of Wight achieved their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards in 2016, with each being recognised at a presentation ceremony last night (Wednesday).

In total there were 59 DofE Award winners in 2016 – 5 Gold Award recipients, 11 reaching Silver Award level and 43 achieving Bronze. Sadly, 19 were unable to attend the presentation evening hosted by the Isle of Wight College, mainly due to illness.

Last night guests were welcomed to the presentations by Lee Matthews of the Isle of Wight Council and Natalie Woods, Chair of IOWDECA. Natalie reported on the special events that had taken place on the Island to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Awards during 2016.

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As 27 of the award holders achieved their awards whilst a student at the Isle of Wight College, it was appropriate that the DofE Leader at the College, Terry Gaskin, should be the compere for the evening. Terry said how all the participants had undertaken various tasks which help the Island’s community by completing voluntary work with charities or other local organisations.  They had all undertaken expeditions, learned new skills and participated in sporting activities.

Lord Lieutenant for the Isle of Wight Major General Martin White CB CBE JP was kept busy as he handed out the awards. A great supporter of the scheme, he pointed out that 300,000 young people take part in the Awards in the UK each year. He gave recipients his best wishes for their future careers and encouraged those who had gained Bronze and Silver to go onto Gold.

Of the 5 Gold successes Oliver Scragg from Newport Open Award Centre completed his hat trick of awards having gained both Bronze and Silver in the past. He has managed to match his brother, Sam, who has also achieved all 3 awards.

Oliver’s expedition took him to the Lake District. Commenting that he knew now how to dine well as by his third attempt he insisted porridge was the answer! Like his brother he undertook sailing. He was none too happy though with the early morning starts with the Wayfarers Cycle Group, but their Cake Break was most welcome, he insisted.

Beth Gordon, also from Newport Open Award Centre, is now studying at Bournemouth University. Her volunteering involved working with other university students.

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There were 2 successes by Sandown Bay Academy students who are now both at university. Alice Lyons went to the Lake District for her expedition while James Stirling undertook lifeguard duties and playing in a band.

Unfortunately, Amelia Risling from Island Innovations Sixth Form was one of those unable to attend to pick up her Gold Award.

Prior to the presentations Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Isle of Wight Council leader, said:

“I offer my congratulations to all the young people who will be receiving their DofE awards and it is great to see Isle of Wight students embracing this scheme. It is very important as it adds so much to the development of students.

“I would encourage young people who are thinking about doing a DofE award to register and take part. You could find yourselves helping people in the community, getting fitter and developing all sorts of skills outside of the classroom.”

Anyone aged 13 to 24 can enrol for the DofE. To do so, they should email [email protected].

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