Duke of Edinburgh Gold Annabel

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Record numbers of D of E Golds


As well as studying for their final A level and Pre-U examinations the multi-talented outgoing Year 13 have also been working towards record numbers of Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards this year.

Sophie Puttock set the ball rolling earlier this year when she received her Gold Award. Daniela Cullum, Izzy French, Elena Gutierrez-Garcia, Anna Pitts-Tucker, Chanelle Smith, Beth Taylor-Lowen, Fran Taylor-Lowen and Melanie Wheeler are following close on her footsteps and Emma Harris and Fiona Grieve are making good progress with their Gold Awards. Most recently, Annabel West has received confirmation that her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award has been granted. Annabel writes about her Gold experience below. Finally, proving that the end of school doesn't mean the end of D of E, 2011 Wally Hall leaver, Annie Brazel has recently learnt that she too has achieved her Gold Award.

Many congratulations to everyone who has gained their Gold this year, a fantastic achievement.


My Duke of Edinburgh Gold Experience

Although, I thoroughly enjoyed completing my Bronze and Silver award, it was with some trepidation, that I commenced D of E Gold.  I was concerned about the level of commitment required, at the same time as studying for my A levels.  However, now I am so happy I did.

To achieve the award, I had to complete a period of volunteering, helping a charity or community organisation for a minimum of one hour per week, for twelve months. I chose to work for The Tadworth's Children's Trust charity, where I gained a lot of experience working, in a retail environment dealing directly with customers.

For the skills section, I decide to learn to drive. I started 90 minutes lessons each week and within six months I had successfully completed the theoretical and practical driving tests.

I also had to complete a period learning or developing a physical skill. I decided to attend the gym for at least three hours every week, again for twelve months. Using the cardio and resistance gym equipment improved my overall fitness levels, which was great preparation for the expeditions.

The most challenging and fun aspects of D of E were the expeditions.  I was required to complete both a practice and assessed expedition.  Both expeditions required me to complete a pre-planned route, using complex navigational skills, over the course of four days and three nights, walking for a minimum of eight hours a day, carrying rucksacks, food and camping kit.  The main objective was to work as an effective team, demonstrating competencies in camp craft and navigational skills and developing an awareness of wild camping issues.  I completed my practice expedition in The Peak District and my assessed expedition on The Isle of Arran.

Finally, I had to complete a week long residential section also on The Isle of Arran.  My objective was to develop my knowledge of and undertake a variety of environmental and conservation work and to survey local wildlife.  This gave me the opportunity to also complete the John Muir Award for Conservation.

Overall the whole D of E gold experience was fantastic.  The most fun and rewarding parts were the independence, self-reliance and great camaraderie on the expeditions and residential.  From being complete strangers at the beginning, by the end of each experience we were extremely close friends.

I am now looking forward to going to the Palace to receive my award from either The Duke or The Countess of Wessex.

I would highly recommended Gold D of E and would like to thank Mr Swann for his guidance and support.


Annabel West, Year 13