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earlofwessexprinceedwardhovertravelryde2HRH The Earl of Wessex visited Hovertravel this morning (Friday) to see first-hand the difference The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) makes to young people and communities on the Isle of Wight.

Using the board room at Hovertravel, HRH The Earl of Wessex met headteachers from both Isle of Wight and Portsmouth schools to discuss key issues around using DofE to support young people accessing local activities or initiatives, tackling isolation issues and high levels of deprivation.

The Charity is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary this year, having helped to transform the lives of millions of young people in the UK and across the globe since it was founded in 1956.

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Undertaking a DofE Award gives 14 to 24 year olds a unique opportunity to grow as young adults, gaining valuable life experience while developing essential employability skills. Setting their own challenges and learning practical skills helps to prepare each individual for the world of work.

Photo by Bob Newcombe
Photo by Bob Newcombe

The Earl of Wessex – Prince Edward – arrived from Southsea via Hovercraft before meeting the Island’s Lord-Lieutenant Major Martin White, Hovertravel’s staff and local school children. The Earl then made his way the short distance across to Ryde Arena where he watched an ice skating performance and met members of the local community.

Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel explains:

“We are strong supporters of the DofE for the local community and we welcome visits from young people as they complete their challenges. Hosting the Charity during their diamond anniversary year is a special privilege for us and we want the visit to raise awareness of its good work across the Island.”

Peter Westgarth, Regional Director / CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said:

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“As we celebrate 60 years of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, it’s clear that the Charity is an integral part of life on the Isle of Wight and has played an invaluable role in the development of hundreds of young people in the community.

“It’s fantastic to see the Island being recognised for the outstanding work it does and enormous thanks must be given to the volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that every DofE participant makes the most of this wonderful opportunity.”

earlofwessexprinceedwardhovertravelryde5Although the real DofE Award is limited to 14 to 24 year olds, in its Diamond Anniversary year the DofE Charity is calling on people of all ages to set and achieve their goals through the DofE Diamond Challenge. Inspired by the essence of the DofE, this one-off initiative for 2016 aims to give everyone a flavour of the life-changing benefits of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The Charity is encouraging people to sign up at and set themselves a challenge that they can be proud of – be that an adventure, a skill or something personal.

As a Trustee and a Gold Award holder, HRH The Earl of Wessex has championed the DofE for many years. As part of the Diamond Anniversary, The Earl of Wessex is travelling around the UK to help celebrate the hard work of DofE Volunteers and the successes of DofE participants. The tour continues until October.



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