Clipper Race Crew remember their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

16 April 2021

Clipper Race Crew are adventure seekers to their very core. Sailing across some of the world's toughest oceans takes preparation, courage and determination. Often this drive to challenge themselves started at an early age, with many of them having learnt some of these key skills and values from working towards a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a youth programme designed to equip and empower young people to build the skills, confidence, and resilience they need to make the most out of life. Founded by His Royal Highness The Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956, DofE is one of the Duke’s most remarkable achievements that will leave a lasting legacy.

Following the sad passing of Prince Phillip, the charity, which carries his name, has called for previous recipients of the DofE Award to share their experiences. Clipper Race Alumni, from across the world, have been sharing their stories of the scheme.

Trevor Thurlow, Circumnavigator on Clipper 2019-20 Race, Zhuhai team

Trevor Thurlow

“I received my Gold Award from Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace in 1971. It is a great scheme for the development of young people and was my introduction to the joys of 'the great outdoors' - a passion I have retained ever since.”

Melodie Schaffer, Race Crew on Zhuhai, receiving her Gold Award from Prince Philip

Melodie Schaffer

“I received my Gold from Prince Phillip in a ceremony in Toronto in about '94.

My challenge was climbing Mt Kinabalu in Borneo.”

Sheila Richards, Leg 2, Unicef, Clipper 2019-20 Race

Sheila Richards

“I received the Gold Award from Prince Philip at Holyrood Palace.

“I loved all the outdoor exercises; trekking, orienteering, camping, cycling and youth hosteling. So many lessons learned. Volunteering in a children’s home was an eye opener for me. I was asked about the award in the interview that got me my first job - I’m sure it helped!

“A wonderful scheme which provides so many valuable learning opportunities for youngsters. I recommend it to all.

“It was lovely to meet Prince Philip - he spoke to all of us and asked us what we had enjoyed most. For me it was the outdoors and planning excursions, then making them happen! I still do that today - 40+ years on!!”

Karen Smith (Left), Circumnavigator on WTC Logistics, Clipper 2019-20 Race

Karen (Kaz) Smith

“I used to do some training and assessing. I spent many an hour hidden in bushes or behind fences waiting for a group to come by. Sometimes they didn’t - which was obviously alarming. You inevitably found them close to the startpoint, still discussing which way to turn at the first junction!! Or, they did come by without a care in the world.

This is where I got a strange insight into the conversations teenagers seem to have!”

Suzanne Hughes

“I did my Gold many, many years ago. Such happy memories working with children with severe learning difficulties in Barry, South Glamorgan with my friend Mel. And of course the expedition across the Brecon Beacons. We were a group from an all girls school, so hanging out with the boys was a real bonus.”

Andrew Dodd, Leg 6, Clipper 2019-20 Race, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Andrew Dodd

“I received the Gold Award from Prince Phillip in 1980 at Buckingham Palace. As part of the residential qualification for the Gold Award we did an exchange with the gold participants from Gibraltar. We went there for a week to work in hospitals and care homes and then they came to England to do their 50 mile expedition.”

Felicity McClarty

“I did Bronze and Gold. My Gold Award was memorable as I was a lot older than the group I did my final expedition with (I was at uni and they were in a youth project nearby). We had very different experiences of life but we all learnt from each other on our expedition in the Yorkshire Dales.

“I'm now a teacher and have been involved in a volunteering role with DofE since I trained at Little Heath school in Reading in 2004. Such a fantastic opportunity for young people and I'm so lucky to still be involved!”

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