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A royal date with the golden touch for Russell Ford

Young achievers from across the UK had a date in the prestigious setting of St. James’s Palace, London, including Russell Ford from Frome.

Russell attended Frome Community College where he achieved his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.  He travelled to London to receive his certificate in the presence of  the DofE’s Trustee and Gold Award holder, HRH The Earl of Wessex.

James Cracknell, Olympic Athlete  presented Russell with his certificate.  James told the Gold Award holders, “Well done to everyone here today. This is the end of a long road for you all and it’s at a time in your life with so many other distractions. All that you’ve achieved; learning new skills, improving physically, doing your expedition, volunteering in your community and going on your Residential is fantastic, and doing just one of those is an achievement in itself. Congratulations.”

The Gold Award Presentation (GAP) was a celebration and recognition of Russell’s achievements in completing his Gold DofE programme.  The GAP is a unique event and a fitting culmination to mark the hard work, determination and perseverance required.

Russell worked tirelessly through the five sections of his DofE programme over 21 months to achieve his Gold Award.  His diverse activities included experimenting with light based art through photography and volunteering as an assistant leader at 1st and 7th Frome Scouts.

For his expedition he completed four days where he was self-sufficient in The Lake District, climbing Scafell Pike and scrambling up to Foxes Tarn, the highest tarn in Cumbria.   Throughout his DofE, Russell was able to prove himself to be a great team leader and especially excelling in his navigation and map reading skills.

Russell said, “It was a very rewarding experience and I thoroughly recommend it.  I intend to pursue a career  working in the outdoors and the Duke of Edinburgh  Award has provided me with many valuable experiences and opportunities.”

These experiences show what an impact doing your DofE can have, and can develop the skills needed for life.  Russell’s Gold Award helped him to gain a place at The University of South Wales where he is reading Natural History and has become an active member of the Climbing and Mountaineering Club.