Student strikes gold and chance to meet royalty

A FORMER Steyning Grammar School student has celebrated earning his Duke of Edinburgh gold award and even got the chance to meet the man himself at a ceremony in London.

George Wilson, 18, of The Avenue, Shoreham, spent 18 months working towards the certificate, and was rewarded with a chance to meet the Duke of Edinburgh at St James’ Palace in Westminster.

“He was really interesting to speak to, and not how you would expect,” said George of Prince Philip.

George said the Duke asked a lot of questions, made jokes and took a real interest in the achievements of those who had completed the scheme.

George volunteered as a cub scout leader with the Third Shoreham Sea Scouts, played tennis at Buckingham Park and learned to drive as part of the course, which requires students to do voluntary work, build their physical fitness and learn a new skill.

He then hiked through the Brecon Beacons for four days researching waterfalls, and spent four days hiking, camping and orientating in the Lake District while putting together a safety guide for future expeditions.

George said he was elated by his achievement.

“I hope it shows my personality to employers and that I’m committed and hard working,” he said.

“It was such a good laugh with all my friends and I’m just glad I had a chance to do it with them.”

George completed the course with the Adur Outdoor Activities Centre who have since stopped running the scheme.

The award was presented by ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell.

George is now in his first year at Imperial College London studying material science.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a youth charity which runs an achievement award for people aged 14 to 24.

Young people progress through three levels of Duke of Edinburgh programmes to achieve a bronze, silver or gold award.