Gold DofE Award - Cdt Sgt Luddington
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), is a youth awards programme founded in the United Kingdom in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. There are 3 levels that you can do DofE at: Bronze, Silver and Gold. At Gold level there are 5 sections to the award. Volunteering, Skill, Sport, Residential and Expedition. You have to pass all sections to achieve success - I have really enjoyed the challenges of the different sections. For my Skill I chose playing an instrument with the goal of progressing musically and gaining more experience. Over the time that I was doing my award, I had to practice lots to develop my trumpet skills which as a result of which meant I had some great opportunities including playing at the Birmingham International Military Tattoo and later on for the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street and at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea when Her Majesty the Queen attended to honour those who served in World War 1. I also became first trumpeter in the National bands during this time.This linked in with my Residential section, where in April last year, I spent a week with the ACO National Marching Band, leading my section and assisting the new cadets, making sure the welfare of my team was good. This was a great week in which I gained even more experience and met some fantastic new people and enabled me to play at Twickenham Rugby stadium and in the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London later in the yearFor my Sport I chose running and worked up my fitness levels over the 6 months. Little did I realise that great preparation for all the really hard new challenges of my Junior Leaders’ Course.
For my Volunteering section, I worked at my local sailing club and taught new people to sail. Over the time I was doing this, I achieved my RYA Dingy Instructors qualification enabling me to teach beginners and more experienced sailors including adults, children both able bodied and with additional needs. One of my most rewarding days was teaching a boy with cerebral palsy to sail and seeing the delight on his face at achieving.
In summer of 2013 I completed my Gold Expedition in the Yorkshire Dales with 5 others. This was a challenging week - 5 days of hard walking across all sorts of terrains with a group of amazing people I had only just met but had such a good time. The weather for this week was mainly sunny which made helped make the week so good but even then I still managed to fall into a puddle up to my waste. Much to everyone’s Amusement
On March 25th I was invited to St. James Palace in London to receive my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. In St. James Palace there is the ‘Picture Gallery’ where the Air Cadets were being presented their awards by His Royal Highness. Special guests for the day included Levison Wood (Explorer who has a book and channel 4 program called ‘Walking the Nile’), Commandant Air Cadets Dawn McCafferty and of course HRH the Duke of Edinburgh.
The whole experience from start to finish has been brilliant and I have learnt a lot of life and personal development skills from doing my Gold award. I would encourage any young cadet to have a go!