Theo Silk Becomes First Bede’s Pupil to Complete Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award
Theo Silk, Upper Sixth, celebrated completing his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award at a very special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London this month.
Theo began his Duke of Edinburgh journey in the First Year, completing his Bronze Award in March 2017, Silver in January 2018, and Gold in February 2019. Ms Ali Rowsell, Assistant Head of Duke of Edinburgh, says, “Theo has completed all three levels to a very high standard and demonstrated excellent commitment to the Award, particularly the volunteering, skills, physical and expedition sections.”
Theo with Paralympian Paralympian Scott Meenagh at the ceremony
Speaking about the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Completion ceremony in London, which welcomed over 1,000 guests, Theo says, “It was really exciting, and great to have the opportunity to meet so many people who had also completed the award and been through the same experience. The highlights of the day included meeting the Duke of Wessex and Paralympian Scott Meenagh. Scott (who lost both legs on a tour in Afghanistan and went on to compete in the Invictus and Paralympic Games) delivered a powerful speech and presented the awards. It was truly inspiring to meet him.”
“I can’t take full credit for receiving the award,” Theo continues, “it was very much a team effort and I’m grateful to Matt, Owen, Joachim, Molly, Teagan and Ben for all that they did to help me through the course. We were a good team and supported one another when things got challenging. When we got lost trying to navigate the hidden paths in Lake District Woodlands, or were trekking in the wind and rain for hours on end, we would make jokes to help us get through it. It was tough at times, but mainly a lot of fun, and it’s all worth it now. If I could go back, I would do it all again.”
Theo’s group was the first Bede’s team to take on the Gold Award, and in doing so have set this up for pupils in younger years to take on the challenge. “I would really recommend the Duke of Edinburgh Award,” Theo says. “It’s great for character building, you get lots of transferable skills, and you meet lots of likeminded people through it. Walking in the open air and spending time with friends is also a really therapeutic way to take your mind of school work.
“There is a lot of teacher support,” Theo continues. “Ms Rowsell and Ms French are passionate about the Duke of Edinburgh and very encouraging, and Mr Betts is helpful on expeditions and very funny – our team saying was ‘Is there anything Mr Betts can’t do?’, which I think sums it up!”
Bede's Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition to the Lake District, April 2019
Ms Rowsell concludes, “The Duke of Edinburgh Award develops a range of skillsets that can be easily transferred. For example, Matt Moloney, Upper Sixth, recently delivered emergency first aid to help save a member of the public whilst travelling on a train locally. Matt has also delivered a talk to Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh pupils about his experience.
"This is the first team to have completed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award at Bede's, and we are incredibly proud of them all. They have faced challenges head on with humour, determination and humility, and are thoroughly deserving of their accolades.”
Theo is already planning more hikes with friends and his Duke of Edinburgh team, including a trip to the Lake District over the summer.