It was very exciting to hear of Old Birkdalian Henry Stevenson receiving his Gold DofE Award in the presence of the Earl of Wessex recently. Henry had a chance to chat briefly with HRH, before being presented with his certificate by adventurer Jo Bradshaw, who regaled a thrilled audience with her inspirational story.

Completing the Gold Award is an impressive feat that not every participant achieves. It not only involves completing a self-sufficient four-day, three-night expedition in wild country, but also has four other sections to complete – a skill, physical recreation, volunteering and a residential.

Birkdale School is a keen promoter of the D. of E. Award as it is a scheme in which young people are encouraged to push themselves and learn valuable life skills. All the S3/Y9 pupils undertake Bronze training and expeditions as a matter of course, and there are typically around fifty sixth-formers each year who enrol for the Award at Gold Level, where they are given further training and support, particularly in the Expedition Section.