FOUR young people from Lomond School in Helensburgh travelled to Edinburgh recently to receive their gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The four pupils, Millie Grover, Duncan Robinson, Sophie Monteith and Cameron Kemp, attended a presentation in the gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where they received their awards from guest presenter Vicki Jack, after sharing their experiences with Prince Edward, who is known as the Earl of Forfar when in Scotland.

During the Gold Award Presentation, the Prince congratulated the group from Lomond School on their successes and heard about their ‘DofE’ journeys, which took each young person 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.

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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 an expedition in wild country.

Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Nicola Harwood, who is the DofE Award manager at Lomond School, attended the presentation to see the group receive their Gold Awards.

She said: “The DofE gives young people the chance to do something completely new and improve on things that they are already doing.

“It takes them out of their comfort zone and helps them to develop their teamwork.

“The Award helps them to build confidence, resilience, skills for work and friendship groups.”

Speaking about her DofE experience, Sophie Monteith, who was one of the Gold Award holders at the presentation, said: “The Award has helped to open doors for me as it has shown employers that I can commit and am hardworking as I have worked though the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award programme.

“The Award has strengthened my relationships and helped me to continue to improve my fitness and allowed me to help others, both of which I will continue in the future.

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“I really enjoyed the canoeing expedition that I did for Gold and it gave me lots to talk about at interviews.”

Nearly 21,000 young people started a DofE Award in Scotland last year through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions and youth groups.

Set up by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, the award scheme was based on a programme run at Gordonstoun School in north-east Scotland, where the Duke was a pupil.

In 2018-19 the programme had 461,563 active participants, while the number of awards started, the number of awards achieved and the number of people from disadvantaged backgrounds all showed significant increases on the previous year.

To find out more about the DofE programme, visit