Duke of Edinburgh Gold Medals Presented

In Highland a record 18 young people aged between 17 and 25 years have gained their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards in 2008 and during a meeting of The Highland Council held earlier today (Thursday 26 June) 12 of the successful participants from Inverness and Grantown were presented with their Gold awards.

Before presenting them with their awards, Convener of The Highland Council, Sandy Park congratulated the gold medalists and praised them all for the commitment they had shown.  He said:  “This is a record year for the Highlands and all of you should feel very proud of yourselves.  To receive a gold award is a great achievment which recognises your hard work, effort and dedication.   On behalf of the whole council I would like to congratulate each of you and those unable to be with us today, our very best wishes for what I am sure will be very bright and exciting futures.” 

Lisa Wood, aged 19 and now a police officer completed her award whilst a pupil at Grantown Grammar School.  Joining her for the presentation was fellow former pupil Stephanie Lawrence (20).  Both recommended the award scheme and said taking part had allowed them to gain new experiences had made them think more about the views and values of other people.

Five young people from the Crown Award Group which is run by an enthusiastic group of parent volunteers in the city, attended the presentation  Duncan Mathieson (20) said:  “It has made me more approachable and given me a desire to learn about different cultures.”

Carrie Whyte (19) and Joe Drinkwater (18) completed their awards as part of the same group.  Carrie chose Octopushing for her physical recreation section and Joe travelled to Romania with Blythswood Care.

Volunteering as a playcare worker and playing the clarintet formed part of Meghan Raeburn’s (19) Gold Award and Edward Kelsey (19) worked as a team leader at a children’s camp for his residential project.

Five present and former pupils from Inverness Royal Academy were also presented with their medals. Debbie Sword (19) who is considering a career in teaching said she felt that taking part had helped her to discover more about herself.  “I can do anything I put my mind to and I put myself forward for new things more often.”  She was joined by former fellow pupils Niall Harbison (18), Andrew Elam (17), Sophie Chattington and Matthew Stevenson (19).

Niall travelled to the Gambia with the school to install computer facilities whilst Andrew was involved in the Inverness area YouthBank which provides funds for activities organised and run for young people by young people. Sophie used languages for her skill section and Matthew was involved in leading a cub camp for over 500 participants. 

He said:  “The Duke of Edinburgh Awards are an excellent experience and have opened many new doors to life, creating everlasting friendships and developing many important life skills for use in later life.”

The other Highland Gold medalists who were unable to attend the presentation are Isla Wallace, and Leah Wilkinson, former pupils of Grantown Grammar School, Toby Kirkwood who still  attends the school, Ayla Skene a former pupil of Inverness Royal Academy who is now a student at Edinburgh University, Shona Leighton also from Inverness Royal Academy and Lindsay Banks from the Dounreay Award Group.

In the Council area there are 36 Award groups in schools, uniformed groups and youth work settings. 

Chairman of the Highland Award Project Bill Walker and Duke of Edinburgh Award Development Officer, Isobel Gray attended the presentation. 
All the gold medallists are invited to the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh on 4 July 2007 to be presented with their certificates by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

27 Jun 2008