Royal recognition for Smithdon's Pauline Petch

Royal recognition for Smithdon's Pauline Petch
Pauline Petch (photo: Ian Burt)

The organiser of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme at Smithdon High School has become one of a small group of people to receive Royal recognition for exceptional dedication to the role.

Pauline Petch has been involved with the scheme for nearly 10 years, and today manages it across the four high schools of the West Norfolk Academies Trust, which includes Smithdon.

She is one of just a small number of volunteers to receive a personal letter of commendation from the HRH The Earl of Wessex, a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) trustee.

Her contribution has also been recognised with a special commemorative coin marking the life and legacy of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the DofE’s patron, which has been donated by The Royal Mint.

Only 50 people were selected to be the recipients of the special coins, reflecting different roles, successes and activities on behalf of more than 45,000 people who deliver DofE across the UK.

Their efforts in ensuring young people can continue to take part in the DofE despite the challenges of the pandemic were particularly praised.

Pauline, who is the Duke of Edinburgh Award's scheme manager at the West Norfolk Academies Trust, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh Award continues to grow across all four high schools and this is only possible with the dedication of all volunteers, and the support of each school.

“The Trust has a small band of dedicated coordinators that ensure all our young people are offered every opportunity possible- and between us - even though most of the activities had to be changed, postponed and altered – each school still had a fantastic number of achievement certificates and full awards.”

The DofE allows anyone aged 14-25 years old to complete a series of activities which can lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold award.

Since being launched in 1956, 6.7 million young people have taken part in the scheme, which gives the opportunity to take on challenges, discover new skills and passions and develop their confidence, resilience and self-belief.

Ruth Marvel, CEO of the DofE, said: “If young people are the heart of our organisation, volunteers are the lungs, breathing life into our programmes, changing the lives of young people so that they have the confidence and resilience to deal with whatever life might have in store.

“At a time when so many young people are facing unprecedented challenges, DofE volunteers are instrumental in helping them to regain a sense of purpose, possibility and control over their futures.

“Thank you to everyone in the DofE volunteer family who has helped support so many young people through the most difficult of times.”

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