New teacher gets royal seal of approval

Girl Guiding division commissioner Sheila Regan, Garstang Guides leader Jo Clapham and adviser for Girlguiding NW England Jean Simpson
Girl Guiding division commissioner Sheila Regan, Garstang Guides leader Jo Clapham and adviser for Girlguiding NW England Jean Simpson

A newly-qualified teacher was presented with the highest accolade at the Duke of Edinburghs 500th gold award presentation.

Garstang Guides leader Jo Clapham made the trip to St James’ Palace alongside award-winners from each of the scheme’s seven decades to celebrate the milestone and receive her gold certificate.

She was joined by fellow award-holder Jean Simpson, Region DofE Adviser for Girlguiding NW England, who was first presented her gold certificate by the Duke over 40 years ago.

Jo had the opportunity to discuss her first teaching post and how her DoE achievement had impressed potential employers. To achieve her award Jo endured a gruelling four-day expedition in the Lake District.

Speaking on her meeting with the Duke and Jean, Jo remarked: “Overall DofE was a fantastic opportunity for me to expand my skills and meet some great people.”

Among the guests were BBC broadcaster and former tennis star Sue Barker, who presented gold certificates to one group of young people.

Also among the gold award holders at the ceremony were double Paralympic gold medal winner Hannah Cockcroft and award trustee Baroness Grey-Thompson.

To achieve a gold award, participants must complete five sections: volunteering, physical improvement, developing skills, carrying out a four-day expedition and completing a residential course.

In total, the gold award takes at least 18 months of dedication to attain.