Youngsters at Eccles RFC in Greater Manchester have completed the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme’s Gold Award as a tribute to a club mate who died tragically five years ago.
Christopher Tickle was only 23 when he died in the rugby accident and it only came to light after his death that he had completed all the hard work necessary for his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
Christopher, a popular member of Eccles, was posthumously awarded his Gold Award and the gesture by the Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme work inspired a group of youngsters from the club to become involved in the scheme as a memorial to him.
Eccles is the first rugby club in the country to deliver Duke of Edinburgh to their players from 15 years upwards.
After three years of hard work they have been invited to a special ceremony at St James’s Palace in London on Wednesday 19th March, where they will be presented with the Gold Award.
The youngsters worked tirelessly through the five sections of their Duke of Edinburgh programme over 12 months to achieve their Gold Award. Their diverse activities included expedition leadership skills, first aid, fund raising, welding, ‘band blog’ and a rugby clinic for young people with learning disabilities.
They delivered over 1,100 hours of volunteering during their Gold Award participation and were able to prove themselves to be compassionate and great team members, leaders and decision makers.
“In the beginning I wondered why a gold Duke of Edinburgh reward was regarded so highly by employers and admissions officers but after the months of intense work, the skills I have learnt and what I have given back to the community it now makes perfect sense” said Billy Morrison, one of the Eccles youngsters who completed the Gold Award.
Rob Mather, another to achieve the Gold Award, said: “DofE has let me experience a lot of fantastic opportunities; I’ve seen parts of the country through my expedition I would never have seen and enjoyed a great sailing residential.
“These experiences show what an impact doing your DofE can have, and can develop the skills needed for life.”
The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme has helped to shape and enhance the lives of millions of young people since its creation 55 years ago and there are currently 275,000 engaged in attaining their bronze, silver and gold awards including 57 at Eccles RFC.