Duke of Edinburgh flies in to meet the young people who struck gold
Prince Philip made a flying visit to Northern Ireland yesterday to give his royal seal of approval to 60 young people who have passed their Duke of Edinburgh gold awards.
His Royal Highness was guest of honour at Hillsborough Castle where he presented the accolades at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ceremony.
Accompanying Prince Philip on his special visit was Kate Thompson, director of Northern Ireland’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
The awards are aimed at improving the personal development of young people and they attract around 7,000 participants here, with more than 3,000 hopefuls achieving a bronze, silver or gold award each year.
Prince Philip took the opportunity to chat with around 20 young people and some of their family members and friends before local radio personality Pete Snodden helped present the certificates to this year’s winners.
Later, in the Throne Room, a further 40 awards were conferred by the Prince. In the small dining room, Ms Thompson invited His Royal Highness to present former Duke of Edinburgh Award staff member Sylvia Hamilton with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award long service certificate.
Before a private lunch, Prince Philip also accepted an invitation to present Ken McQuillan, Duke of Edinburgh Award manager, Army Welfare Service, a new operating authority licence certificate.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards began in 1956 and were set up to help young people of all backgrounds improve their interpersonal skills by taking part in outdoor pursuits including hill walking and swimming.
Northern Ireland’s schools consistently achieve the highest levels of participation in the UK.