Duke of Edinburgh Gold Presentation
On Thursday 12th November 2017, 6 students from CSIA headed to St James’s Palace in London to receive their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. This was an amazing achievement and the culmination of 5 years of work from Bronze to Silver to Gold.
It is also the first time students from CSIA have been to this prestigious event. The students, Kate P, Olivia H, Jessica B, Ellie B, Alex R and Damon T are all now at University or on gap years and were very excited to be receiving their award from Prince Edward, The Duke of Wessex. Unable to attend but also achieving the Gold Award were Rowan B and Isla S.
After various methods of travel, most of the students met in Trafalgar Square on a beautiful sunny morning and after spending some time exploring headed off for lunch. The Royal Society was the setting for the Official photographs and it was amazing to visit such a stunning and inspiring venue.
The walk from the Royal Society to St James’s Palace took in the Mall with Buckingham Palace at the end. St. James’s Palace has been the setting for some of the most important events in Royal history, having been a residence of Kings and Queens of England for over 300 years until the reign of Queen Victoria. As the home of several members of the Royal Family and their household offices, St James’s Palace today hosts up to 100 receptions each year for charities associated with members of the Royal Family.
Once inside St James’s Palace, the students were escorted to the Picture Gallery for their presentation. There were 100 students in each of 3 rooms receiving their awards and each room was to be addressed by the Prince and a celebrity guest. Much excitement ensued when Philip Schofield entered our room to talk to the students. He was thrilled to have such a large Cornish cohort, originating from Crantock himself. Philip talked to the students about what an amazing achievement it was to gain the Gold Award. Nationally less than 11,000 students achieve it annually and less than a third of those who start complete. He explained to the students that he did not have the opportunity to complete it at school but he has been a keen supporter ever since, so much so that he agreed to make a programme about it for the Diamond Jubilee last year. He was asked to undertake a challenge and decided to try “Wing Walking”, Philip talked us through his life-changing experience and then opened up the floor for questions. During the questions, he explained to the students that when interviewing for the BBC or ITV if a candidate has the Gold D of E Award it sets them apart from most people and is such an important qualification to have. We were then fortunate to meet Philip’s mum who, after watching Philip Wing Walk, decided to try it herself and was the oldest person to do a loop the loop at nearly 82 years of age.
The Duke of Wessex, Prince Edward was then shown into the room and the students all stood and were presented to him in groups of 25 (as rehearsed earlier). He spent about 5 minutes talking to all of them and asking questions about what they did on their Award and where they went on their expeditions. He was very engaging and genuinely interested in their stories and adventures.
It was a quite remarkable day and well worth the journey to share the experience. CSIA looks forward to making this trip again when the next cohort of students venture to London for this prestigious event.