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Local Woman chosen to speak at Royal Awards

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nottingham woman speaks at awards palace royal

Summary

Young woman from Nottingham chosen to share her story with thousands of guests at Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award celebrations in Buckingham Palace Garden

Buckingham Palace Image for Article

Tuesday 14 May 2024: A young woman from Nottingham joined His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and chef and television presenter Matt Tebbutt to give a speech to thousands of young people and their loved ones at Buckingham Palace yesterday – as they celebrated achieving their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.  

Amelia Warren, 23 – who was also celebrating achieving her own Gold Award – took to the Palace’s West Terrace to share her inspiring DofE story with around 2,000 fellow Award holders. Amelia was joined for the special day by her parents, Julie and Marcus.

Amelia’s celebration was one of four very special festival-style events taking place in Buckingham Palace Garden across two days on Friday 10 and Monday 13 May, recognising more than 8,000 young people who have shown extraordinary perseverance, creativity and resilience to complete their Gold DofE in schools, community organisations, youth groups and workplaces, all over the UK.  

Amelia spoke about how the DofE formed a huge part of her teenage years. She said: “TheDofE became an opportunity to try more activities than I can count – from badminton and bouldering for Physical, to sailing in the Baltic Sea for my Residential. It was a free space to try new things without the worry of what we looked like or how good or bad we were at it.”

In 2019, Amelia took a break from DofE after achieving her Silver Award. She spoke to attendees about the twist of fate which inspired her to go on to complete her Gold DofE: “Suddenly I had a full-time job, I was learning to drive, I had to pay bills and was dealing with everything else that comes with growing up. But being so close to finishing my Gold, I always had it in the back of my mind. Call it fate or whatever the universe had in store for me, when I started my apprenticeship in 2021 at The Manufacturing Technology Centre, there was a DofE Business leaflet sat there waiting for me.

“I took it as a sign – I always knew deep down that DofE would find its way back to me. And just like on your Expedition, there are going to be times in life when you face challenges – you might go completely off route, get lost or end up in a different place to where you expected. It might not go to plan, but it doesn’t matter how you get there, as long as you get there! And it’s the journey that you’re going to remember the most. It’s not the ending that matters, because it’s never really the end.”

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) delivers the DofE as part of DofE Business, which enables companies to give their young employees the chance to achieve a Gold DofE Award as part of their job. Amelia is now a mechatronics and robotics maintenance apprentice at Amazon in Mansfield, in partnership with the MTC, and chairs the Women’s Engineering Society apprentice board – representing women in a typically male-dominated industry.

Buckingham Palace Garden was transformed into a festival-style celebration for the events, with giant deckchairs, bunting, and garden games and activities. Attendees had the chance to hear from famous DofE Award holders and broadcasting legends, and pick up career advice from actors, presenters, authors and campaigners, at stages throughout the garden.  

Yesterday’s celebration was hosted by The Duke of Edinburgh – who received his own Gold Award from his father Prince Philip at nearby St James’s Palace in 1986. The Duke congratulated attendees in a speech from the Palace’s West Terrace, before meeting Award holders and hearing about the positive impact their DofE has had on them.  

Chef, television presenter and Gold DofE Award holder Matt Tebbutt – whose son, Henry, also collected his Gold Award on Monday – delivered an inspiring speech. He said: “My own DofE journey taught me to embrace the bumps along the road, learn from them, and see where life takes you. I used to dread public speaking. At 26, I couldn’t even manage to give a best man’s speech – a regret I still carry with me. But here I am today, speaking to all of you and millions more every Saturday on television. It shows that, with enthusiasm and a willingness to try, anything is possible. 

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is not just an impressive badge of honour – it represents integrity, perseverance, a spirit of adventure, and a desire to give something back. These experiences ultimately make you more interesting and well-rounded human beings. Your journey is just beginning, and I have no doubt that each of you will do extraordinary things.”

Actor Kiell Smith-Bynoe, animator and co-founder of Academy Award-winning Aardman studios Peter Lord CBE, Jodie Ounsley – also known as Fury from Gladiators – television presenter Karthi Gnanasegaram, and marathon runner Sally Orange MBE were also on hand with inspirational talks on careers and life skills.

A Gold DofE Award is a major achievement – young people spend at least 12 months improving a physical activity, honing new skills, planning and completing an expedition and residential, and volunteering for a cause they are passionate about.  

Ruth Marvel, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “The young people here today have achieved something exceptional, and it is wonderful to see them celebrating together, sharing their experiences and hearing their aspirations for the future. DofE is all about proving to yourself just what you are capable of, and the young people here today have showed the world that their potential is limitless. I can’t wait to see what they go on to do next.

“As a charity, we’re working hard to give as many young people as possible the chance to have a DofE experience and we’re delighted to announce that last year 330,948 young people started a DofE Award – another record-breaking year. This growth in participation shows just how much appetite there is amongst young people for enrichment and development opportunities beyond formal education and, together with our partners, we are determined to keep extending our reach until every young person has access to these types of life-changing experiences.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has been focusing on breaking down barriers to give as many young people as possible the chance to do their DofE – working with more schools in deprived areas, further education colleges, community organisations, prisons and young offender institutions, and centres supporting young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

The charity recently announced record-breaking annual statistics, with 545,910 young people actively taking part in 2023/24, 330,984 young people starting their Award – with participants contributing an astonishing 4.7 million hours of Volunteering, equivalent to over £24 million in paid working hours.  

As young people navigate the after-effects of the pandemic, access to opportunities for personal development beyond the classroom, like the DofE, are vital to help them have fun, discover new talents and passions, build their resilience and self-belief and give them skills employers value – like teamwork, problem-solving and leadership.   

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