Gold for Horsham students

Bridget Wallace and Simon Wheeldon get their gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards
Bridget Wallace and Simon Wheeldon get their gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards

A PAIR of Horsham students went to London recently to collect their gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards.

Simon Wheeldon and Bridget Wallace collected the awards at St James’ Palace from actor Simon Callow at an event attended by Prince Edward.

The students both studied for the highest Duke of Edinburgh Award with Horsham Open Centre.

Simon, 18, of The Close, Ifold, said: “It was definitely a special day. I was really pleased and proud to be there.”

To achieve the award he spent 12 months volunteering with the Scout group he attended when he was younger.

“I thought I would give something back and learned about the organisation,” he said.

He went to the gym for 12 months doing exercise programmes and learning new ways to exercise and learned to drive.

For the residential section he spent five days doing adventure and conservation work near Ewhurst with other Duke of Edinburgh hopefuls and he also went to the Lake District.

Simon went to The Weald School in Billingshurst and is now studying geography at Durham University.

“The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme is really rewarding and it’s great to meet new people and learn new things,” he said.

“I think more people should get involved and give it a go.”

Former College of Richard Collyer student Bridget, 19, of Ropeland Way, Horsham, is now studying chemistry at Nottingham University.

“The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a really good thing to have and it really builds your character.

“But it really does push you and is really hard to do.”

She described how one day during a five-day hike they had been walking from 6am to 10pm.

“All the girls sat down and cried,” she said. “It was such a relief to be at the campsite.”

Two treks took in the Brecon Beacons in Wales and the Lake District, where they had to cope with extreme terrain, having to reach a certain height and walk a set distance every day.

While in the Lake District she completed a project on the author Beatrix Potter, who lived there.

Other sections of the course included swimming training for a year, life guarding and learning to drive.

She also completed a residential section by going on a Brownie camp.