DofE stories


Skye achieved her Gold DofE Award in Dumfries and now works as a primary school teacher. Skye says that doing her DofE helped her grow in confidence and she wouldn’t be who she is today without it. On 13 October 2016, Skye travelled to St James’s Palace to receive her Gold Award…

“It wasn’t until I’d carefully pinned my shining gold brooch to my dress that I began to feel nervous. Catching my reflection in the mirror as I left for St James’s Palace, I started to feel incredibly proud of the journey that The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has taken me on and of all that I’ve achieved in the five years since starting.

On arrival at the Palace I was greeted with a wonderful energy of excitement and anticipation, shared between friends and family. As I waited outside to enter St James’s Palace, the day’s first glimpse of sunshine shone down on the Friary Courtyard as if to congratulate all those under its warmth.

Leaving my coat and bag with the cheerful cloakroom volunteers, I was guided to my presentation room. As I entered the golden double doors, I paused to take in the overwhelming grandeur of the Throne Room. Regal scarlet walls showcased ornate chandelier wall sconces, vast oil paintings and of course the throne itself, which sat upon a raised platform overseeing a room filled with an incredible history created by so many people of great importance.

We were introduced to our presenter, Hannah Moore from BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat and Room Steward and Director of the DofE in Scotland, Barry Fisher, who put everyone at ease with his kind words and entertaining stories. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh would visit my room shortly and before I knew it we were arranged into semi-circles ready for HRH’s arrival. The room fell silent. Reassuring nods were exchanged between Award holders and their guests who faced opposite.

Standing face to face with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh couldn’t have been a more relaxing experience. He spoke very briefly, asked some questions and joked. All nervous feelings in the lead up to his arrival vanished and I was beaming with happiness, engaging in conversation and listening to his anecdotes. As he left the room to continue his greetings, we assembled for our group photograph watched lovingly by our proud supporters.

The certificate presentation was smoothly organised and a thoroughly well-deserved applause accompanied everyone who made their way to collect their certificate. Our presenter told us about her own DofE experience and described how this linked to her chosen career. She offered advice and in the spirt of the DofE, encouraged us to never give up on ideas or future ambitions.

On this uplifting note our Gold Award Presentation drew to a close and fond farewells were said. Casting one last look at the Throne Room’s decorative cornicing we made our way back through the Palace to the photography studio nearby. I had my photograph taken on my own and with my guest, commemorating what was a once in a lifetime experience. Now dark, we followed the glimmering lights of London to end our wonderful day with a celebratory dinner in the heart of the city.”

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