In the week when London was awash with ‘Royal Fever’ as royal wedding preparations were underway, seventeen of our current and former students were invited to Buckingham Palace to be presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards. 

Amy Marsden, Pippa Emmans, Katy Fox, Jessica Downes, Lucy Bland, Lauren Dunkley, Cody Breese, Rebecca Ibbotson, Olivia Jowle, Alice Swann, Harriet McAra, Jemima Start, Wenjin Zhu, Lydia Blackburn, Jessie Mitchell, Natasha Perryer and Rebecca Wales all completed Gold awards while at school, and some have completed Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Mrs Rogers, DofE Coordinator at Sheffield Girls’ said she was incredibly proud of all the students. She said: ‘Most presentations take place at St James' Palace - they only do a couple at Buckingham Palace in May so this group were very lucky.’  

‘Every year, the breadth of variety of activities that they pursue to complete the Awards amazes me. For the volunteering section, the students have to complete at least 12 months, for at least an hour each week - so this group of girls have volunteered over 1,000 hours between them!’

Volunteering activities completed by the students included litter picking, sports coaching, working in charity shops, helping children and people in need, coaching a school choir, dance leadership, Girl Guiding and helping at a local library. Skills activities completed included fine art, driving skills, playing an instrument, car maintenance, playing in a band and acting, drama and theatre skills.

Their expedition section took them to Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales and their residential section saw them choose activities such as sailing training to RYA competent crew standard, childcare, become volunteer arts & crafts leaders, volunteer on a holiday camp for disabled children, take a Countryside & Wildlife Rangers course, volunteer in India at charitable organisations and complete cookery and art courses.

Lydia Blackburn in Year 13 said: I have absolutely loved completing my Duke of Edinburgh Award, from Bronze all the way up to Gold. I think it's a great opportunity to broaden your experience of the wider world, making new friends, developing your independence and learning new skills.’

Each year around 80 Sheffield Girls’ participate in the Bronze Award, about 40 in the Silver and around 20 in the Gold Award. Another five students, Radhika Acharya, Olivia Beech, Daniella Farquhar, Victoria Hibbert and Isha Mordekar, have been invited to The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in July to receive their Gold awards.