The Earl of Wessex chatting the recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh???s Gold Award, from left Ayana Applewhaite, Derron Austin, Keba Bowen and Gabrielle Custance. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Five females, who are the latest recipients of the Duke of Edinburgh???s Gold Award, have been urged by His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, to encourage other young persons to enroll in that programme.

The five, Ayana Applewhaite, Derron Austin, Donique Austin, Keba Bowen and Gabrielle Custance, were presented with their certificates today by The Earl, in a ceremony at Government House, witnessed by the Acting Governor General of Barbados, Elliot Belgrave.??

In recognising the achievements, Prince Edward said: ???Although it is an individual achievement it is a team effort as you all know, so lots of people have been involved in actually making it happen.?? So, to all of those, whether they are present or not, I think we can pass on our thanks for their support for enabling these young people to achieve their goals and, hopefully, they will go on and help more younger ladies to have the opportunity to be involved in the programme and to achieve Gold in the future.

???And, hopefully on future visits when I come back here there will be even more young people coming to collect Duke of Edinburgh???s awards. And, I hope that you will encourage others to??? Use the talents and skills that you have developed through this to encourage and help others to have the same opportunities.?? So, congratulations??? Well done and good luck.???

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Award Council of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme, Lt. Colonel V. Owen Springer, in welcoming The Earl of Wessex, asked that he convey to Her Majesty, The Queen, Barbados??? ???continued pledge of loyalty and prayers for her ???good health and many, many more years with us???.??????

As he presented the awardees to The Earl of Wessex, Lt. Colonel Springer told him that while in the past most of them had come from schools on the island, this was ???the first occasion that we have had Gold awardees from a church group???.

He added: ???The programme has been challenging but they have stuck to it and have enjoyed it all the way. They are a part of a very enthusiastic group of participants in the Gold Award programme and are proud and honoured to be able to receive their well-earned Gold Award certificates from your Royal Highness.???

The Duke of Edinburgh???s Awards Programme is an exciting, self-development organisation available to all young people between the ages of 14 and 25, equipping them with life skills to make a difference to themselves, their communities and their world. It was started in the United Kingdom in 1956 by His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh K.G.K.T.

The Award operates in more than 100 countries with millions of participants who make outstanding contributions in a particular public pursuit. It is divided into three levels: gold, silver and bronze.?? To obtain an award, participants must demonstrate excellence in a number of areas, including service, skills, physical recreation and expeditions.??

The Duke of Edinburgh???s Awards Barbados is a non-governmental body and is a registered charity operating out of the national office, located in Sheraton Centre, Christ Church. The organisation is managed by Trustees and the Barbados National Award Council.

Next year, Barbados will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the programme which was introduced here in 1963, through the Council for Voluntary Social Service.??


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