Former Shrewsbury Sixth Form College student celebrates DofE Gold award success at Buckingham Palace

A former Shrewsbury Sixth Form College (SSFC) student picked up a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award at Buckingham Palace yesterday – something only 10% of those who ever set out to start it, achieve.

Harry Roughan, 19, from Shrewsbury, received his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from BBC celebrity presenter, Steph McGovern, after Trustee for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), HRH The Earl of Wessex, heard many of the success stories.

During the Gold Award Presentation, HRH took the opportunity to congratulate the 3000 gathered guests, 1,200 of which were collecting an award, on their successes and heard about their DofE journeys, which took each young person 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.

Those who achieve a Gold DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, take part in a week long residential and plan and undertake an expedition in wild country. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Sue Tuerena, DofE Leader at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: “Harry has a severe visual impairment and his determination to complete the expedition with no concessions was an incredible feat. Going on to complete the whole Gold award while at Shrewsbury College is an outstanding achievement and one that few other students achieve so quickly.

“I can vouch that Harry's group, which also included SSFC students Robert Tait, Katty Chesson, Lola Haines, Guss Edrop-Leach, Howard Robinson and Thomas Gould, worked together as a strong team to help Harry through the bogs, mountains and forests on their four-day unsupported expedition.

"At times they carried him and his bag when he was exhausted. The mixed group developed their team-work through the training, planning and practice expeditions using each other’s particular skills to contribute to the whole team. Harry is the first of his group to complete, but several of the rest are nearly completed. We were very proud and pleased to be able to facilitate this achievement.”

Speaking about his DofE experience, Harry, who studied Physics, Psychology, Sociology and Biology A Levels at SSFC, achieving two A*, an A and a B, said: “I decided to do the Duke of Edinburgh because it’s something different to do and will provide me with that something extra for my CV going forward. It’s not something you get the chance to do often.”

Harry, who is now studying Psychology at Birmingham University, added: “I found it both challenging and fun. The expedition was hard, but the other in my group helped he. I feel awesome about the achievement and it was fun going to Buckingham Palace – but very hot! The day put getting this far into perspective. Steph McGovern said some really nice things like ‘Even if you don’t know where you are going, whatever you do, put in 100%.’  I am really pleased the College gave me the opportunity to do this.”

Harry’s Dad, Michael, said: “The whole family is very honoured. It’s a huge achievement. Harry’s visual impairment doesn’t stop him doing anything and he did amazingly well with this challenge.”

There are currently over 300,000 young people taking part in a DofE programme across the UK through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions and youth groups.