The achievements of 75 young people in West Sussex have been recognised at a special ceremony in Arundel.
They were being honoured after achieving Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards (DofE) this year.
More than 150 people came together to celebrate the young people’s outstanding achievements at the Gold Award presentation, which was held at The Grand Hall, Hilton Avisford Park Hotel, on Sunday (5 July).
During the ceremony, which was hosted by Liz Bennett, Deputy Lieutenant of West Sussex and Chairman of DofE Committee, several young people gave inspirational speeches about their experiences.
Michael Prior, 25 from Chichester, said: “The more you say ‘yes’ to opportunities, the more you can create your own unique journey.
“If you behave with determination and resilience, you can achieve anything.
“DofE helps you achieve your potential – it’s more than a qualification as it shows you have something that most people don’t have.”
Charlotte Mcaloon, 19 from Crawley, added: “Every part of DofE has improved my confidence – with other people and with myself. I can believe in myself and I know I can do it.
“My team kept me going when it was a struggle. They motivated me and I kept enrolling at every level.
“It has been hard sometimes, but the experiences you have and the person it makes you become makes it all worthwhile.”
Guests attending the ceremony included Susan Pyper, the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Denise Patterson, High Sheriff of West Sussex, Christian Scott, Regional Director of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council Vice Chairman and Peter Evans, County Council Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life.
Peter said: “It is wonderful to see young people achieving the ultimate DofE award – Gold – and to recognise their accomplishments.
“They should all be extremely proud of their success.
“Reaching this level is not easy – it requires dedication, determination and the ability to support others while challenging yourself.
“I would say to all young people that there is a lot you can achieve at all levels of DofE, be it Bronze, Silver or Gold. Go on – test yourself!”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award aims to give young people, aged between 14 and 24 years, the chance to develop skills for life and work.
In West Sussex, the programme is supported by the County Council’s Young People’s Service. There are 64 centres delivering DofE in West Sussex to 9271 participants, from schools, colleges, special schools, Open Award Centres and independent organisations.
For information on how to get involved in DofE in West Sussex, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website at www.dofe.org