TWELVE participants of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh group who completed their Gold expedition in summer 2020 against the odds.

Having previously completed their Bronze and Silver awards in their secondary schools and keen to stay together as one group they all came together at the TCR HUB, Barnard Castle to embark on the last leg of their D of E journey.

Despite the challenges presented by both the weather and a year filled with uncertainty and restrictions, they successfully completed their expeditions in the North Pennines and the Borrowdale valley in the Lake District, where they were able to explore the region’s rich industrial heritage whilst also making a documentary of their DofE journey.

During their time working on their Gold expedition, this group of young people, many of whom have additional needs and disabilities, demonstrated an impressive array of skills and were commended for their teamwork, support of one another and motivation.

Assessor for the expedition section of the Gold Award Sue Turnbull said: “The growth and development of this group has been tremendous.

“Their teamwork, perseverance and support for one another were impressive.

“This is a truly exceptional group of young people”

Many of the participants in this group had never walked or camped before and had no experience of navigation and camp craft activities so it really was a leap into the unknown.

Throughout the three years together the team has supported each other and worked together with high levels of commitment shown in competing all three awards especially during the recent challenges.

They started their Bronze award in 2018 with expeditions in Ullswater and Teesdale followed by the Silver walking Hadrian Wall and into Bellingham and now three years later as a team they finish their Gold award.

The participants actively engaged with the Gold expedition training despite it having to be done remotely and showed remarkable resilience.

The group have now completed their Residential section in June 2021 due to having to cancel it on two previous occasions because of Covid restrictions.

This was working for YHA Langdale and the Scout Association, Moor House Outdoor Centre in Durham in order to fully complete the award.

Dofe Co-ordinator Lucy Maddison said: “As a group of young people they have certainly done themselves proud in these recent challenging circumstances and have shown how well they can work as a team.

“All of the leaders and those who have supported them through this year are immensely proud of their level of commitment and determination to complete.”

The team, which has stuck together over the three years included: Blake Winter, Harvey Blackburn, Jack Gullidge, Rhys Louden, Ewan Watson, Ethan Simpson, Alexandra Golightly, Felicia Golightly, and, Eleanor Golightly.