The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award is a prestigious achievement, highly valued by employers. 11 of the 16 who completed their awards from the previous year’s leavers attended the presentation at St. James’s Palace to receive their Gold DofE certificates this week. Lauren Sutton, who left the College a few years earlier, showed a great sense of timing by achieving her award at an age of 24 years and 51 weeks, just making the deadline in time!
They listened to a speech by Justin Packshaw, who has experience of expeditions as far reaching as both the North and South geographical poles. For the presentation of their DofE Gold Award certificates, they had the opporturnity to meet HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, who spoke to them about their Gold DofE experiences.
L to R: Christina Welsh, George Kerridge, Sophie Matsell, Lauren Sutton, Emily Wilford, Toby Rider, Camilla Gawthrop, James Morgan, Lewis Myers-Allen, George Gough, Thomas Brown and Katherine Hitchcock.
After snow drifts and blocked roads led to the cancellation of the Coniston trip at Easter,
the June D of E was adapted to combine Silver and Gold expeditions close together in
Derbyshire. Open to Years 11, 12 and 13, this proved to be very popular with the students.
With a chance to unwind after the academic intensity of GCSE and A level modules, five
Silver groups and three Gold groups set off on their planned expeditions, this time testing
their physical and mental endurance. Some groups demonstrated accurate navigation from
the outset, whilst others developed their skills throughout their experiences. All groups
grew in maturity, self-reliance and teamwork over the course of the expeditions, and all
were successful in meeting their goals.
The next expedition opportunity at these levels will be in the first week of the October half
term, with both Silver and Gold taking place again in Derbyshire. Before then, the current
Year 9 will embark on their assessed Bronze D of E in September, in the countryside
Year 9 all set out on Thursday from the College on their practice Duke of Edinburgh’s Award expeditions, putting into practice the skills learned during the year on maps, compasses and navigation. They set up camp overnight at three locations, including some returning to familiar ground at Brandeston Hall.
The conditions were ideal for walking with a cool breeze, the rain holding off under cloudy skies, and a little sunshine too. All groups navigated their way back to the College successfully on Friday to complete their practice expeditions, and they will now plan their route cards for their qualifying expeditions in September, building on their experiences.
During Year 10 they will be able to complete activities towards their volunteering, physical and skills to gain a Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Those wishing to continue further have the opportunity to go on to Silver and Gold in Year 11 and the Sixth Form.
During the half term break seventy-six students took part in expeditions in Derybyshire and Yorkshire as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The six Silver groups in Derbyshire faced navigation challenges with a lot of dense fog at times and a more demanding hilly terrain than their Bronze counterparts in Yorkshire. All groups responded well and successfully completed their expeditions, including also one assessed expedition.
In Yorkshire there were two practice and three assessed Gold expeditions. Weather conditions in Yorkshire have been very wet recently and the Gold assessor was impressed with the way the students listened carefully to and acted on advice in carrying out the necessary changes to their routes during the expeditions.
Many students have already put their names down to continue the expedition side of their D of E Awards in the Lake District at Easter.
The CCF Adventure Training Camp at Coniston attracted huge numbers including 54 expeditioners and 12 helpers.
It was an unusual week due to a huge area of high pressure that stood relentlessly over the country. The Lake District grew thirsty under the baking sun and temperatures soared. Coniston Water acted like a mirror and views from the peaks were spectacular. Woolly hats, fleeces and mittens were abandoned in favour of sun glasses, floppy hats and sun cream. Sun burn and heat stroke became a real risk, but everyone adapted well succeeding and completing their expeditions. Many also had the opportunity to go kayaking on the lakes. The Gold assessors, Messrs Lawrence and Astall were full of praise and admiration. Congratulations to Claire Walker, Jessica Mol, Flora Mol, Lucy Broom, Claire Caiger, Joe Buckley, Sophie Matsell, Sam Weya, Matthew Preston-Bloom, Max Elliott, Harry Hurst, James Finney, Tim Alexander and James Green who all passed their final Gold Assessed Expeditions.
Clouds began to gather on the day of departure as if in anticipation of our next challenge. Panic fuel buying had emptied local petrol stations and we had 6 laden vehicles each with 325 miles ahead of them. Thankfully the motorway services were still in operation and delays were few!