The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award: A scheme which inspired generations of young people


The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme began as an idea from Prince Philip’s headmaster at Gordonstoun, Kurt Hahn. The school ran a badge system, where pupils won an award for qualifying in different sports skills.

The DofE Award launched in 1956, and hundreds of thousands of young people still sign up to take part in it every year.

The scheme encourages young people to volunteer, take part in sports and learn new skills, as well as undertaking an expedition.

The last group of young people to be officially presented with awards from the Duke himself was from Kirklees, in West Yorkshire.

Among the recipients was Sally Devenport, who was presented with her DofE Gold Award by Prince Philip. She described the scheme as a wonderful experience.

Sally Devenport taking part in DofE scheme

She said: "I visited Tanzania to help build schools. There were about 20 of us. It was hard to see kids in ripped cardigans and not being able to fit in the classroom.

"The Duke of Edinburgh put himself at the same level and made everyone feel welcome, and included everyone in the conversation."



Participants describe the Award as a real adventure from the beginning to the end.

Young people in Kirklees take part in DofE scheme

Denise Bedford, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award manager said: "The DofE (Award) has been so important because it brings young people of all ages and all abilities together.

"We have young people here today from all over the country. They are doing some really positive work with local young people with disabilities. It's brilliant what  they have done."

Yorkshireman Brian Blessed was one of the many celebrities to support the DofE scheme.

He was very much a champion of the working class. He wanted young people to be given the chance. He wanted to inspire them in yachting, boating, orienteering, mountaineering, exploring. He believed in adventure. He made me realise that there's no one like you, that we are all special, we all have something that no one else has got and he believed in bringing that out in each individual.

Brian Blessed

Prince Philip may have handed out his final awards to a Yorkshire group of young achievers, but the way he lived his life will continue to inspire youngsters for generations to come.