'The best experience of my life' - Your memories of taking part in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Launched 65 years ago, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has transformed the lives of millions of young people across the UK and beyond.

By Debra Fox
Friday, 16th April 2021, 6:00 am

As the nation unites to pay tribute to Prince Philip – the programme’s founder and patron – following his death, we asked our readers to share their memories and stories of taking part in the youth awards.

The Duke died on Friday, April 9 at the age of 99. He was just two months away from his 100th birthday in June.

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Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Sophie, Countess of Wessex attend the Duke of Edinburgh Award's 60th Anniversary Garden Party in 2016. Picture: Dominic Lipinski - WPA Photo/Getty Images.

The DofE charity works to help young people gain essential skills, experience, confidence – born from a pilot programme which began in 1956.

A tribute to Philip on the DofE website said: “The DofE has become one of The Duke’s most remarkable achievements, equipping and empowering young people from all communities to build the skills, confidence, and resilience they need to make the most out of life.”

Here is how you remembered taking part on our social media pages:

Stacey Jayne Clark: “Went to Norway for our Gold award excursion and was hands down the best experience of my life. Would 100% recommend to anyone given the chance to jump at it.”

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, poses with former DOE awardees ahead of a reception to celebrate the programme in 2013. Picture: Dan Kitwood - WPA Pool /Getty Images.

Cassandra O'Neill: “I took part in an International Gold Event in Toronto, Ontario and Quebec representing the UK as one of 10 delegates. There were 160 gold award holders from 50 plus countries.

"I had lunch with Prince Edward and was one of two delegates that was chosen to co-host the closing ceremony and conference after a three-week event. Many memories and honoured to represent the UK.”

Jill Hendry: “It really was life changing at 15 years old … I’d recommend it to anyone!”

Carol Cameron: “I did Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. I was presented with the Gold at Buckingham Palace by the Duke of Edinburgh. Remember my mam was so proud when he chatted to me!”

Jessica Boyce: “I have Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh awards, it was the best experience that I had.”

Christine Hull: “My daughter did Bronze, Silver and Gold, so proud we met Prince Philip, he was absolutely charming.”

Michelle Wall: “Met Prince Philip at St James’ Palace when I attended the DofE award ceremony. He was lovely, he shook everyone's hand and even had information on certain individuals.

"He approached one lad and knew he had been kayaking to complete his Gold award. For me it was an amazing experience and now my grandson is going to do it.”

Wendy Brown: “Both my children have Gold DofE, looks great on their CVs and helped them both become confident and well-rounded adults.”

Donna Watson: “Took part about 40 years ago, thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as helping others who weren't as fortunate as myself.”

Luce Tatey: “Yes - Bronze, Silver and Gold. An honour to have had Prince Philip presenting my Gold.”

Alan Knighting: “Across the world there are many millions of people who took part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and who benefited enormously from them.”

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