A big surprise was awaiting Carol Authers, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Operations Manager and her team when she met with Ben Batley, Deputy Head of the Somerset Freemasons. Carol was expecting to be presented with a bursary of £25,000 towards enabling disadvantaged young people in Somerset to take part in the scheme. Instead she was presented with a giant cheque for £30,000!
The presentation was made at Kilve Court Outdoor Residential Centre near Bridgewater on September 18th in the presence of the Deputy Lord Lieutenant – Chris Davies CBE, local Freemasons and several children who had taken part in the scheme.
Ben said “I am honoured on behalf of all the members of the 89 Lodges that represent the Freemasons of Somerset to make this donation that will provide around 400 disadvantaged young people with a bursary to develop personal key life skills through taking part in these awards. Along with previous funding, Somerset Freemasons have supported the DofE Scheme for over a decade. This latest donation is in memory of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, himself a Freemason for nearly 70 years.”
Carol said “I cannot thank the Freemasons enough for their continued support. This is a significant amount of money for us and will go a long way to help disadvantaged young people who would like to do their award.”
Cllr Frances Nicholson, Cabinet Minister for Children and Families at Somerset County Council who also attended the event added “I am so glad the Somerset Freemasons decided to make this generous contribution to such a worthwhile scheme. I couldn’t be prouder of the Somerset DofE Team.”
Those present were treated to several videos of participants taking part in the scheme accompanied by commentary from the children themselves. They then visited the climbing tower to see an impressive display of abseiling under the watchful eye of David Hamlin, DofE Operations Manager.
Since the DofE Awards began in 1956. Nearly 7 million young people in the UK have taken part. The programme has three progressive levels leading to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. For more information about the scheme visit: www.dofe.org.
A full report on the event is also available on the Somerset County Council Newsroom website.