Meeting with Royalty

Published on 25 March 2015

Meeting with Royalty

It is not every day that one gets an invitation to St James’ Palace. However, this was the case just before half term when Mrs Green and I were invited to receive our Direct Licensing Certificate in recognition of Vandyke becoming an assessment centre for the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

St James Palace was built during the reign of Henry VIII and so may be familiar to viewers and readers who enjoyed Wolf Hall. The palace serves as a  residence and place of work for various members of the royal family and is not open to the public.  Therefore it was a special honour to be invited to the presentation of over three hundred gold awards to young people from across central and southern England.

The Gold Awards were issued in the presence of HRH The Earl of Wessex, but not before John Laughton, an entrepreneur and charity organiser, spoke movingly and humourously about the importance of attitude in achieving your ambitions. He emphasised the importance of believing in oneself and not allowing others views to dilute your aspirations. He talked of his own impoverished upbringing and poor qualifications and how he overturned others’ low expectations to eventually create his own company, advise the government and appear on Big Brother; which he also won! Laughton was unstinting in his praise for the young people who stood before him as testament to what can be achieved with a positive attitude and a steely determination. He appreciated the challenges they had all overcome to achieve this prestigious award which is recognised by universities and employers as a mark of character and zeal.

Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, who has taken over from his father The Duke of Edinburgh, as  patron of the award, moved between four rooms of the palace greeting the young people and asking them about their experiences. He was genuinely interested in their expeditions and voluntary work and responded to their comments with wit and enthusiasm.

As we embark on a further round of training with over fifty students for the Bronze award it is inspiring to think that a number of these teenagers could be at the palace in a few years’ time to collect their Gold awards. Currently we have one student awaiting their trip to the palace and another six who could have completed all the sections by the end of the year. As well as this we have got a further seven students registering for their Gold award. Alongside the Bronze and Gold awards we have got fourteen students registering for their Silver awards this year.  Good luck to them all!


Mrs Green and Mr Workman