Thursday 24th May was a very special day for myself, and many others, attending a presentation a in the gardens of Buckingham Palace to celebrate and receive our Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. Also attending the presentation was around 40 celebrities, who were there to hand out the awards, as well as The Duke of Cambridge, Princess Beatrice of York, and The Earl of Wessex, who were greeting and meeting all of those who were there collecting their award.
I arrived at Buckingham Palace with my guest, who was my mum; we were both very eager to walk through the gates. After passing security, we continued to walk down the side of the Palace. Both of us had a grin reaching from ear to ear; it suddenly hit us that we were walking in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, it felt like we were in a dream! The experience of being able to walk around the gardens was an unforgettable experience, but also having the chance to talk to royalty and celebrities, made the experience even better!
It was lovely to see all the celebrities so calm and collected among everyone at the event, and it was also nice to see no one running up to any of them and screaming about them being there! An actor named John Bradley, who plays a character from the series Game of Thrones, was a presenter at the event, my mum is a massive fan of the series, and of course, she had to have her photo taken with him! The celebrity that presented the awards in my group was a lady named Dr Vanessa Lawrence; a British businessperson, geographer and speaker working internationally. She was a lovely lady and gave a very inspirational speech to us during our presentation. She had also completed and received her Gold Duke of Edinburgh herself, elaborating on her experience and what she did to achieve her award.
Everyone at the event was assigned to their groups, ours containing other individuals from Budmouth College and others from Dorset, who had also achieved the award. On arrival of Their Royal Highnesses, everyone at the event turned and faced towards Buckingham Palace while the band was playing the National Anthem. Once Their Royal Highnesses had arrived, Dr Vanessa Lawrence proposed her speech, which as I stated before, was very inspirational. Following on from this, we waited for the arrival of The Earl of Wessex. A lady approached our group and announced that he was on his way to our group, I started to get nervous and excited, I was going to meet royalty! The Earl of Wessex was a lovely gentleman; he was full of energy and was eager to find out how we all found our Gold Duke of Edinburgh. He congratulated us all and spoke to the guests that we had all brought along with us. From the look on my mums face, she was super excited by what was happening. Once The Earl of Wessex had left, Dr Vanessa Lawrence proceeded to hand out our awards. She shook my hand and congratulated me on such an achievement and handed me my certificate. One final speech was given by Dr Vanessa Lawrence, and congratulated us one last time on our achievement.
It was then time to head home; the whole experience had gone so quickly for me and my mum. As a whole, it was breath-taking and I still cannot take in that me and my mum have walked through the gates of Buckingham Palace and wondered around the gardens! It is a day that I most definitely won’t forget and will cherish this memory with me for the rest of my life. I am definitely a lucky individual to be able to experience such an event, alongside some inspirational individuals. I’m grateful to say that I have achieved not only my Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh, but also my Gold. So much time and effort was put towards all of these awards, especially Gold.
I want to thank everyone that has enabled me to have this opportunity in life, especially my parents and my school, Budmouth College. I was able to push past my limits and learn a wide range of new skills, as well as making lots of new memories that I am able to carry with me forever.
Budmouth College Student
If you would like to find out more about the Duke of Edinburgh Award then please go along to F02 to see Mrs S Temple or email at TempleS@budmouth.dorset.sch.uk.