The Sunday Post (Newcastle)
The scheme built confidence...there were moments I’ll remember forever
One of the Duke of Edinburgh’s greatest legacies is his award scheme. Since it was set up in 1956, the scheme’s outdoor trips and charitable work have been enjoyed by thousands of young people. Here one award winner describes its life-changing potential.
Looking back at her teenage years, Victoria Carruthers, 28, admits completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award helped grow her confidence, and boost her love of the outdoors. She even met Prince Philip when she received the gold award.
“I started the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the third year of high school and eventually collected my Gold Awards in 2010, just as I was about to go off to university,” explained Victoria, who is originally from Kinross, and now lives in Aberfeldy.
“A few friends signed up at the same time, but the numbers dwindled and by the time I got to the gold award there was only about 15 of us left. So, it ended up being a really good opportunity to get to know people better, which I remember being a little nervous about to begin with.
“One of the best parts for me was going on a residential week during the assessment for the gold award. I went to an outdoor adventure camp in Fort William, and I was worried about going by myself – but it was brilliant. I climbed Ben Nevis during that time, and there were so many moments I’ll remember forever. At the time I don’t think I realised how much the award helped build my confidence but, looking back, it definitely did. And I made friends I still keep in touch with.
“There’s such a community aspect to the awards, and completing bronze, silver and gold certainly grew my love of the outdoors.
“My mum has a framed picture of me meeting Prince Philip, which is still sitting in her dining room. I met him when I received my gold award in 2010.
“We knew our certificate would be presented by a celebrity, and a couple of years before our ceremony Ewan McGregor had handed them out. We ended up having a presenter from Radio Tay, then we got to meet the Duke, who came around to chat with each of the groups. It’s pretty cool to be able to say I’ve met him.”