Thursday, 24 November 2016

Celebrating 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving Westminster Abbey
(photo @wabbey Twitter)

He is used to walking a step behind but today, the Duke of Edinburgh was very firmly at the centre of royal celebrations. Prince Philip attended a special service in London marking 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. And while others shared their stories and he sat among royalty, the focus was very much on the man who created a scheme that has set countless young people on the path to success.

The Duke of Edinburgh accompanied the Queen to the service at Westminster Abbey - they were joined by the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Sophie recently completed a bike ride from Edinburgh to London as part of the Diamond Award challenge marking 60 years of the scheme.

A host of famous faces, including TV presenter, Phillip Schofield, impressionist Jon Culshaw and Paralympian, Helen Glover, also took part in the ceremony.

They heard stories from some of the many people who have taken part in the scheme and who talked about the inspiration and skills it had given them.

There were 2,000 people in the congregation today to mark the anniversary of the awards which were set up by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956. The Earl of Wessex, heavily involved in the scheme himself, gave an address in which he talked of the inspiration the awards have given, saying that those taking part had often ''for the first time...discovered they can do something and be proud of it.''

The Duke of Edinburgh was his usual self and gave nothing away. But deep down, there must have been a sense of pride at what he had done. He may have taken his usual place a step behind but today was a celebration of him as well as of the awards which carry his name.

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