Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Cumberbatch hails DofE recipients

Benedict Cumberbatch met the Duke of Edinburgh during the ceremony

Benedict Cumberbatch has praised a group of young people who have earned the top honour in a leading personal development awards scheme.

The Sherlock actor described them as "fantastic" as he presented 85 recipients with their DofE gold awards.

They had spent many months completing a set of challenging tasks, ranging from community volunteering to planning and undertaking an adventurous expedition.

Benedict told them during the ceremony staged at St James's Palace and attended by the Duke of Edinburgh: "It's with great pride that I'm presenting Duke of Edinburgh's Award gold awards. What these young people have achieved is fantastic, not just for themselves but for their communities.

"As an actor I know how much their experiences and the skills they've developed matter. Without determination and passion, I wouldn't be where I am today. I wish them every success for the future."

The actor was introduced to Philip, patron and founder of the DofE charity which he established in 1956.

Since then around five million young people have taken part in the life-changing programme.

DofE chief executive Peter Westgarth said: "We know how beneficial the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is for young people whatever their background or circumstance, whether that's helping them get a job interview or make solid friendships. These gold award achievers are at the start of exciting life journeys and our ambition is to extend this opportunity to hundreds of thousands more as we grow our charity across the UK."

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