FIVE pupils from Lomond School in Helensburgh travelled to Buckingham Palace recently to be presented with their gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

The group – Andrew Macleod, Chiara Robertson, Rona Wilson, Mackenzie Serpell and Abigail Swigciski – were among 17 Lomond pupils who have completed their Gold Awards this year.

The pupils were accompanied by their parents and by Nicola Harwood, manager of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme at the school.

They were presented with their awards by Georgie Barratt, presenter of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show, and met Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, who commended their determination and commitment to the scheme, as well as rubbing shoulders with the Princess Royal and celebrity figures including actor Warren Davis, TV cook Mary Berry and comedian Frank Skinner.

During the presentation the prince congratulated the group on completing their DofE journeys, which took each young person between 12 and 18 months of hard work and dedication.

Lomond’s other Duke of Edinburgh’s Award gold recipients will receive their awards at presentations at Holyrood later this year.

Lomond School Principal, Johanna Urquhart said: “We are proud to be one of Scotland’s leading providers of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. The awards give our pupils key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working and fit perfectly into the ethos of Lomond School which challenges every individual to achieve their full potential by stepping out of their comfort zone and giving back something to society. I am extremely grateful to Mrs Harwood and our other teachers for their dedication to the scheme which involves working through many weekends and evenings to support and encourage our young people.”

Those who achieve a gold DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week long residential and plan and undertake a ‘wild country’ expedition.

The programme is a well-established part of life at Lomond, with 62 pupils achieving an award in 2017.

Mrs Harwood said: “Achieving gold is a huge accomplishment. It was a proud and emotional day and the glorious weather made it even more special.”

Speaking about her son’s DofE experience, Janet Macleod, who was one of the parents at last week’s presentation, said: “I cannot find the words to describe to you how uniquely special it is to have the privilege to accompany your child to the Gold Award Presentation for their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Buckingham Palace.

“She accompanied us on our part of the adventure and Abigail, Andrew, Chiara, Mackenzie and Rhona had nothing but respect for her and warm, genuine smiles in her company.

“Achieving the award is not easy. It’s not meant to be. But it’s worth it.”