Schools to mark 60th anniversary of DofE Awards Scheme

Duke of Edinburgh Awards started in Moray 60 years ago
Duke of Edinburgh Awards started in Moray 60 years ago

THE HEADMASTERS OF Elgin Academy and Gordonstoun School were joined yesterday by Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award participants to launch a new challenge.

The Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Jubilee Homecoming Challenge is to be a celebration of the origins of the awards scheme in Moray.

Organised by Moray Council, the Duke of Edinburgh Moray Local Awards Committee (MLAC) and Gordonstoun, the challenge will take place between April 30 and May 1. It provide a unique opportunity for S3 students throughout Moray currently undertaking their Bronze DofE to take part in an historic expedition.

Participants will travel by bike, in canoes and on foot through the mountains and glens and along the coastline of Scotland from Balmoral to Gordonstoun, where The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award originated.

The Challenge will be spilt into four sections that allow participants to demonstrate the determination, teamwork and resourcefulness necessary to achieve the Award scheme. Each leg will run concurrently over the two days between, ending up with a celebratory event at the Moray private school.

David Barnett, Headmaster of Elgin Academy, commented: “It is perhaps surprising that more people in Moray are not aware that the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award came from the Moray Badge, which started jointly here at the Academy and Gordonstoun in 1936.

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is now in its 60th year and a worldwide organisation which has influenced thousands of young people. It is fitting for us to celebrate this year and I urge all those in S3 across Moray who are eligible to take part in the Homecoming Challenge to put in an entry.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme began at Gordonstoun and Elgin Academy as the Moray Badge in 1936. The founder of Gordonstoun, Kurt Hahn, decided to give young people throughout Moray the opportunity to experience his educational model and he did this through the Moray Badge, which the Duke of Edinburgh himself gained while he was a pupil at Gordonstoun.

The Moray Badge was so successful that Hahn wanted to make it a national award. He consulted with Prince Philip and persuaded him to give his name to what became the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which was launched sixty years ago this year.

Since being formed in Moray the awards have spread throughout the world with over 140 countries and millions of young people benefitting from participation in the scheme.

Simon Reid, Principal of Gordonstoun, said: “Gordonstoun is enormously proud to be the birthplace of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and much of what the DofE stands for is still at the heart of a Gordonstoun character education.

“We are delighted to be working with Moray Council and MLAC to run such an exciting event with young people in Moray. I am certain that all those who take part will not only have an exciting weekend but will learn and grow from the experience.”