Royal date marks students’ award achievements

Paralympian Tony Willis with young people from West Sussex
Paralympian Tony Willis with young people from West Sussex

THREE Steyning students were among 25 young people invited to St James’s Palace to mark their Duke of Edinburgh Award achievements.

John Williams, Luke Knight and Jamie McManamon from Steyning Grammar School’s Sixth Form College received their Gold Award certificate from the Earl of Wessex.

Paralympian Tony Willis also attended the presentation, which was a celebration and recognition of young people’s achievements in the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) programme.

The DofE in West Sussex is supported by West Sussex County Council’s Young People’s Service and a total of 117 Gold Awards were achieved in the county this year.

Peter Evans, cabinet member for children, said: “I congratulate all of the young people who have achieved their Gold Award for the DofE.

“Being invited to St James’s Palace is a great honour and our West Sussex representatives should be proud of their accomplishments.”

Young people worked through the five sections of the DofE programme, involving diverse activities which gave them the chance to prove themselves as great team members, leaders, and decision makers.

Steph Furmston, 21, spoke for the group to explain what the ceremony meant to them.

“It was a great experience to visit the palace, even more so when they told us the building was not open to the general public - it really highlighted the achievement we have made.

“The guest speaker we had was a Paralympian, so it was nice to meet him and have the award presented to us by someone who had achieved so much.”

They also met the Earl of Wessex and found him ‘nice and chatty’.

Mr Evans added: “The experiences shared by Steph show what an impact doing your DofE can have. It really can help you to develop the skills needed for life.”