Volunteering and a taste for adventure have led to an excellent achievement for a Morpeth teenager, as he has achieved the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award’s (DofE’s) top accolade.
Rioghan Bruce saw his success rewarded at a gold award presentation – which was hosted at St James’s Palace in London by HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
He was joined by other young people from across the UK at the palace to receive a certificate from polar explorer, and the Scout Association’s latest ambassador, Dwayne Fields.
Planning and leading an expedition that took place over a few days and nights, along with voluntary work for Morpeth RFC’s juniors section, were among the activities the 18-year-old tackled on the road to gold, after first securing his DofE bronze and silver award levels.
He also travelled to the Lake District for the residential section, which saw him working with others to decorate a youth hostel, tidy up its garden and clean its bedrooms.
This section involves undertaking a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for five days and four nights.
On receiving his award, Rioghan said: “I feel really happy and proud of my achievements. It’s been a challenge mentally and physically, but you come out a stronger, more confident and better person.
“I discovered that I really liked to lead, but it’s also shown me the importance of teamwork in achieving goals and solving problems.
“It’s been a fantastic experience – one that I’ll never forget.”
The DofE was started by Prince Philip and offers opportunities for young people aged between 14 and 24 to develop and gain valuable life experience.
An estimated 300,000 people across the world are thought to have benefitted from the scheme, which has helped them to develop confidence, resilience, leadership and drive, among other personal attributes.