Students honoured for pandemic DofE work

Students in Sleaford have been congratulated for their efforts and achievements in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award amid unprecedented times for the scheme.

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The Robert Carre Trust recently held a presentation evening for youngsters from Carre’s Grammar School and Kesteven and Sleaford High School who completed the youth programme in 2020 and 2021.

Despite Covid-19 and its national lockdowns and school closures, trust students managed to achieve awards at all three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold – during these years.

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In 2020, the schools were two of just four in the county to complete full expeditions; in 2021, they were two of three.

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The pandemic led to students adapting components of the scheme in line with the #DofEWithADifference approach suggested nationally. For example, for ‘volunteering’, time was given at Covid-19 vaccination centres; for ‘physical’, daily exercise allowances were utilised; and for skills; scrubs, masks and ear savers were made.

Mel Walker, Robert Carre Trust Duke of Edinburgh’s Award co-ordinator, said: “I am extremely proud of them all for what they have achieved and am hugely grateful to the volunteer staff who gave their time in support of these fabulous young people.”

The guest speaker for the evening was ex-Kesteven and Sleaford High School student and Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond Challenge Award holder Holly Parkinson.

Holly, who has her own photography business, spoke of her adventures since leaving the school, including: Camp America and New York State’s Catskill Mountains; the North Coast 500, in Scotland; wild swimming; Mount Kilamanjaro; fell running; climbing; paddleboarding; and the three weeks she recently spent in a remote village in Gambia.

The evening also saw the presentation of British Heart Foundation Heartstart certificates and the appointment of a new Duke of Edinburgh’s Award prefect for 2021/22, Raluca Zoltan.