Essex County Council’s contribution to helping thousands of young people achieve Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) awards was recognised during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace this week.
Cllr John Aldridge, Chairman of Essex County Council, was presented with a special plaque from the DofE by TV celebrity supporter and explorer Levison Wood on Monday.
The DofE is celebrating its diamond anniversary throughout 2016 and the plaque was awarded to Essex County Council as acknowledgment of its commitment to running DofE programmes over the last 60 years.
The council has helped thousands of youngsters achieve DofE awards during that time, including 1,436 awards in 2015/16.
Young people from Essex also attended the Palace to be presented with their Gold DofE Awards. These included the following, who were licensed by Essex County Council:
- Evangeline Spray (Brentwood County High School)
- Lucy Willis (King John School)
- Victoria Bush (Colchester Townhouse Award Centre)
- Matthew Hall (William de Ferrers School)
- Bethan Radcliffe (Moulsham High School)
- Emma Howard and Charlotte Cochrane (Chelmsford Open Award Centre)
Members of the Royal Family, including HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex, were in attendance to congratulate those recognised at the event.
Cllr Aldridge said: “We have been running the Duke of Edinburgh Awards for 60 years and it was an honour to be invited to Buckingham Palace to receive a plaque in acknowledgement of our work with the charity during its anniversary year.
“Our young people are encouraged to really step out of their comfort zones when doing their DofE Awards and the skills they develop can be life-changing, so for us to be involved is something very special.”
Cllr Ray Gooding, Essex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, added: “We are committed to supporting young people in Essex and equipping them with important life skills that will enable them to play an active role in society.
"The DofE is one of a number of programmes our youth service runs and I am delighted that years of hard work and commitment have been acknowledged.
“I would like to congratulate all of the young people, schools and youth workers who have been involved in the DofE in Essex across the last six decades.”
Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of the DofE Charity said: “Through the DofE, Essex County Council is inspiring the success of its young people, equipping them with the attributes and skills to get a job and build strong relationships whilst opening up their worlds and introducing them to a broad range of interests.
“We are truly grateful to all of our licensed organisations for the work that they do.”