387 of Merton’s young people were invited to attend an annual Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award Achievement Ceremony at Ursuline High School, Wimbledon on Wednesday 18 April.
Pictured with Jamie Ramsay some of Merton’s recipients of The Duke of Edinburgh Award showcasing examples to demonstrate some of the new skills they have learnt.
The young people from 13 secondary schools across the borough were recognised for their perseverance and hard work which led to them completing their awards over the past year at bronze, silver and gold levels. Endurance adventurer Jamie Ramsay presented the certificates and badges to Merton’s worthy DofE winners. Jamie Ramsay left his job in the City of 12 years to run in an expedition solo and unsupported for 17,000km across the Americas. Starting in Canada, he ran through the USA, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and ended in Argentina. Fighting extreme dehydration, desert terrain and the Andes mountain range, it took 367 running days to complete averaging over 46km a day.
Merton’s Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is part of the London Borough of Merton’s Youth Service. In addition to the young people commended, Ursuline High School was also presented with an excellence award for its success in delivering the DofE scheme, along with a commendation for Rutlish School.
The DofE requires young people to get involved in different activities, develop a variety of skills such as music, drama or cooking and get involved in sports with challenges in activities for example rowing, Tae Kwon Do and football. Volunteering is also a key part of the DofE and the awardees represented almost 7,000 hours of volunteering in Merton over the past twelve months. This has included helping at primary schools, libraries and fundraising for charities. At gold level, residential trips were to Mexico for marine conservation, on a tall ships trip and helping at a Ghanaian hospital. A major part of the awards at each level is also the expedition which has been to locations such as Dorking, East Grinstead, the New Forest and the South Downs for bronze level, and to the Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Cumbria for the silver and gold expeditions.
Acting Director of Children, Schools and Families, Jane McSherry said: “We can all be proud of Merton’s many young people who have completed their Duke of Edinburgh award. It is a wonderful opportunity for them to develop skills that they will then have for life as well as helping their community and good causes along the way. With Merton enjoying one of the highest completion rates for DofE in London this year, it clearly demonstrates the tenacity and level of commitment Merton’s young people possess. I congratulate them all and wish them huge success in their future chosen path having accomplished this commendable achievement.”
Anyone aged 14 and over wishing to apply to be part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme should contact Carol Curtis, Merton’s Duke of Edinburgh Award Manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8274 5828. You could also call in on Tuesdays evenings (term time only) to the Open Award Centre, John Innes Youth Centre, 61 Kingston Road, Wimbledon, SW19 1JN between 7.00pm-9.00pm. More information on the DofE, visit the national website www.dofe.org