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Aldenham School pupils collect Duke of Edinburgh awards at 500th gold presentation
Three former Aldenham School pupils got the royal seal of approval when they received their gold Duke of Edinburgh award from Prince Philip.
Prince Philip attended the 500th Duke of Edinburgh gold award presentation ceremony at St James's Palace on Thursday, October 10, after founding the awards in 1956.
The gold award is the highest that can be achieved and requires each participant to work through five sections of the award - volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and residential.
Andrew Rennie, 19, Stephen Wright, 19, and Matthew Ralph, 20, all travelled to the palace to accept their awards, which is the result of 18 months of hard work and dedication.
Andrew said: "Going up to the palace was amazing.
"The DofE was brilliant - he was so cheery and joked with us, also asking us about our award.
"He was pleased we had all completed it together at the school.
"We were separated into different rooms, and the special guest in our room was Sian Williams, it was great to meet her."
The 19-year-old, who is now a sports coach full time teaching Eaton Fives, spent time during the award coaching, learning to drive, and flying with Watford Air Cadets in order to earn the award. He also took part in an expedition in the Yorkshire Dales.
He continued: "The whole award was a great challenge, and it was great to finish it by going up to the palace to meet the Duke of Edinburgh. "The school were extremely helpful in helping me to achieve the award. I couldn't have asked anymore from them.
"I would recommend the award to anyone it was such a good experience and taught me a lot about independence and taught vital skills like how to be a leader."
Andrew’s dad, Simon Rennie, was at the awards ceremony. He said: "The day was amazing. The DofE himself is just an amazing man and he was so interested in the young people and what they actual did and was very jovial with it all."
The Duke of Edinburgh Award continues to be popular with Aldenham students, with 42 boys and girls currently working towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Five students will be travelling to the dales this weekend for their qualifying expedition.
Headmaster James Fowler said: "We encourage our pupils to participate in the DofE scheme as it challenges all young people to interact with the local community and develop skills for life to fulfil their potential for a brighter future."
More than five million people have participated in the awards scheme since Prince Philip founded it 57 years ago.
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