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On 16 May 2016, Headmaster Brendan Wignall and Dr Tom Gareth from Ellesmere College in Shropshire attended a once in a life time Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Gold Award Presentation at Buckingham Palace, London. At the event, Brendan Wignall was presented with a special plaque from the DofE Charity by celebrity supporters James and Oliver Phelps (The Weasley Twins) from Harry Potter, acknowledging the schools commitment to running the DofE and thanking it for giving young people the opportunity to transform their lives.

The DofE is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary throughout 2016, having supported millions of young people in the UK and across the globe to achieve DofE Awards since it was founded in 1956. The prestigious Gold Award Presentation at Buckingham Palace is one of many memorable events taking place to celebrate 60 years of the Charity.

Members of the Royal Family; HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex, congratulated those that were present including young Gold Award achievers, organisations that deliver the DofE and special guests such as corporate supporters and DofE Diamond Challengers, who have set themselves a personal challenge to raise money for the DofE Charity in its anniversary year.

Ellesmere College has been delivering the DofE for many years and since then, a number of its pupils have achieved a DofE Award after volunteering in their community, learning a skill, getting fit, going on an expedition and, for Gold, taking part in a week-long residential. Doing a DofE programme significantly impacts young people’s futures, enabling them to develop vital skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment, resilience and team work. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, Ellesmere College hold a license to deliver DofE programmes to anyone between the ages of 14-24 years old.

Dr Tom Gareth, DofE Manager at Ellesmere College attended the presentation. Speaking proudly about their involvement with the DofE, Tom said: “I feel honoured to have been invited to Buckingham Palace to receive a commemorative plaque to acknowledge and say thank you for our work with the Charity during its Diamond Anniversary year. Our pupils are encouraged to push themselves outside of their comfort zones when doing their DofE and the skills that they develop can be life-changing, so for us to be involved is something very special”.

Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of the DofE Charity said: “Through the DofE, Ellesmere College 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, they are an integral part of the DofE family, and our Diamond Anniversary is a fantastic opportunity to say thank you”.

Currently, there are over 300,000 young people doing a DofE programme across the UK through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions, housing associations and youth groups.