Royal praise for Shire award group

Westhill's Kieran Grieve who received his gold award
Westhill's Kieran Grieve who received his gold award

Young people from Aberdeenshire recently attended a Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) presentation in the gardens of Holyrood Palace.

The 36-strong group, supported by Aberdeenshire Council, received their gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from guest presenter sports broadcaster Alison Walker, after sharing their experiences with the Earl of Forfar.

The Earl congratulated the recipients on their success and heard about their endeavours, which took each 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.

Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable participants, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Douglas Findlay, DofE manager for Aberdeenshire Council, said: “My team and I are very proud of the young folk and their fantastic achievement.

“A gold award proves these youngsters are committed, adventurous, skilfull, physically fit and have contributed to their community. “It’s testament also to the commitment and energy of our band of dedicated volunteers who generously give their valuable time.”

Kieran Grieve, from Westhill, one of the gold award holders, said: “The thing I liked most about Duke of Edinburgh was the lasting friendships within my team.

“I found the expeditions physically tough but I’m more confident now I’ve learned that persevering to overcome a challenge really pays off.”

He added: “I’ve enjoyed helping teach table tennis and putting on a ceilidh to raise funds for the local Mountain Rescue.

“In fact one of my teammates and I enjoyed Duke of Edinburgh so much we came back to help out with the bronze training sessions.”

As well as recognising the achievement of the young people, Fred Belcher, from Portlethen, who has recently retired at the age of 86 as an Aberdeenshire Council expedition assessor, was thanked for his many years of valued volunteering and received a long service certificate.