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Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Salina Pa­tel salina.pa­tel@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HRH Prince Ed­ward, The Earl of Wes­sex, launched the Duke of Ed­in­burgh (DofE) Di­a­mond Chal­lenge at Heathrow Air­port.

To cel­e­brate the launch, staff at Heathrow reached new heights as around 100 men and women work­ing across the air­port ab­seiled down the in­side of Ter­mi­nal 5 from de­par­tures to ar­rivals, on Tues­day last week.

The plunge was led by Heathrow CEO JohnHol­land Kaye, to mark the char­ity’s 60th an­niver­sary of the youth achieve­ment award.

Mr Hol­land-Kaye said: “It was an hon­our to host HRH The Earl of Wes­sex at Ter­mi­nal 5 to launch our DofE Di­a­mond Chal­lenge ac­tiv­i­ties.

“We are proud to sup­port The Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s Award, be­cause it helps young peo­ple to ful­fil their po­ten­tial.

“This year we are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple of all ages from across the Heathrow com­mu­nity to do the same by tak­ing part in a Di­a­mond Chal­lenge.“

More than 150 col­leagues also signed up to take part in the FIT­BIT chal­lenge to walk, run, cy­cle or row the equiv­a­lent dis­tance of one of Heathrow’s 180 world­wide des­ti­na­tions – over 400,000 miles – by the end of June, with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Bri­tish Mil­i­tary Fit­ness on hand to help them lim­ber up for their chal­lenge.

Prince Ed­ward was also given his own FIT­BIT tracker and chal­lenged to cover the dis­tance to Manch­ester, where the next leg of his Royal Di­a­mond tour will take him.

He also met 20 young peo­ple from Heathrow who have com­pleted the Gold DofE award scheme, which has been of­fered to air­port em­ploy­ees un­der the age of 25 since 2012.

Naomi Leece, 25, of Feltham, who works as a se­cu­rity trainer at Ter­mi­nal 5, and com­pleted her Gold DofE award in Oc­to­ber 2015, said: “On the qual­i­fy­ing ex­pe­di­tion we faced many chal­lenges and dif­fi­cul­ties and one of my most vivid and bizarrely fond­est mem­o­ries is when I got stuck waist deep in a bog for 15 min­utes and couldn’t get out.

“My team whilst try­ing to help me out, and en­joy­ing the sit­u­a­tion a lit­tle too much man­aged to record this and now I have the mem­ory to last a life­time.

“I learnt one of my big­gest lessons – you have to laugh or you will just cry.”

Se­cu­rity of­fi­cer at Ter­mi­nal 2, Za­reen Zamir, 24, of Eal­ing, who has worked at Heathrow for two years and re­cently com­pleted her gold award, added: “Be­fore I started the DofE pro­gramme I lacked in con­fi­dence, the DofE jour­ney has helped me im­prove my­self.”

In cel­e­bra­tion of the Di­a­mond an­niver­sary year, air­port work­ers will un­der­take some very dar­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to help raise money for the char­ity.

Staff can pledge their own chal­lenges and help raise money which will be used to fund the DofE’s di­a­mond am­bi­tion to work with 2 mil­lion young peo­ple by 2020, in­clud­ing 400,000 from dis­ad­van­taged back­grounds.

It is a one-off ini­tia­tive for 2016 that aims to give ev­ery­one a flavour of the life-chang­ing ben­e­fits of The Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s Award.

Peter West­garth, CEO of The Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s Award added: “As we cel­e­brate 60 years of The Duke of Ed­in­burgh’s Award, it’s great to have such fan­tas­tic sup­port from Heathrow.

“The staff have re­ally got­ten be­hind the DofE Di­a­mond Chal­lenge, and we’re look­ing for­ward to hear­ing about how far they’ve trav­elled on their FIT­BIT chal­lenges.”

Get in­volved at www. DofDDi­a­mondChal­lenge. org and set a chal­lenge – be that an ad­ven­ture, learn­ing a new skill or some­thing per­sonal.

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