Ex Student Laura Hussey’s Gold Duke of Edinburgh Journey

Published on 13 March 2017

Ex Student Laura Hussey’s Gold Duke of Edinburgh Journey

My Duke of Edinburgh journey started  in Year 10, desperate to experience something I had got a flavour for in the Scouts. I remember being surprised how hard it was to complete the expedition. Only  the ones who were serious about it carried on to the Silver award. This made it easier to keep morale up despite  soaking wet socks and freezing cold nights.  Everyone helped each other out by carrying extra equipment, or cooking dinner or giving out the daily treat of a piece of chocolate. It was the little things that kept us going! It was always a delight to see Mrs Green or Mr Bell greeting us on the edge of a field to offer us some words of encouragement on the walks where we looked like drowned rats and were miserable!

We were very lucky to have our best weekend of weather across our Gold assessed expedition. We definitely felt a sense of accomplishment that we had completed 6 expeditions and fought through sickness and injury and looked back on those moments fondly.

For the skills section I chose to complete a level 1 in British Sign Language while at University. This has certainly enhanced my communication skills and it assisted my work as a support worker at MacIntyre charity and now into teaching. I had the most fun on my residential section. I spent a week with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service learning how to tackle fires, search buildings and rescue people from a wide variety of scenarios. Myself and 15  other Gold participants stayed in a cottage in the middle of nowhere and had to plan all meals for the week and cook for each other. Every evening was packed with activities including indoor cricket and map reading with walkie talkies. The final day was an opportunity to relax with a BBQ and rounders on the beach.

Fast forward to the Gold Award Presentation at St. James’s Palace. It had all finally come together and I had reached the end goal; meeting the Duke himself! Central England Award holders were directed to the Queen Anne room, which was her Privy Chamber and Little Drawing Room.

Before Prince Phillip came, Justin Miles, a professional explorer, was invited to talk. He was a very inspiring character, having had a serious car accident at 26. He had brain damage and was told that, after 5 years of treatment, he should be able to go back to work, but only part time. However, within 9 months of the accident he completed a marathon! The following year, he completed a marathon every week of the year! This is when he realised anything was possible and he followed his dream of experiencing as much as he could of the world.  We then had a flag pop through the door to give us a 2 minute warning that Prince Phillip was on his way. The Prince immediately put everyone at ease asking us questions about our experiences and making lots of jokes along the way.

The award has forced me to work with people I would not normally put myself with and, in turn, made me more confident to do this in future. I always hated presentations at school, but having had to do some through DofE, it enhanced this skill and I received my best grade at University on a presentation! It gave me experience I could talk about at job interviews, which have all in some way helped to get me to where I am now, a KS4 subject coordinator.

The award enhanced my love of learning which I hope I never lose! I will forever be grateful to Mrs Green for her dedication to the awards at every level, and the constant positivity and encouragement that kept us all coming back for more!