Ellon girl earns Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award

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AN ELLON Academy student has a royal date to keep in July, when she receives her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award at Holyrood Palace.

Fiona Wallace, who is in her sixth year at Ellon Academy, completed the challenge in April, and will attend a formal presentation from either Prince Philip or one of his representatives in two months’ time.

The awards, made on the basis of a series of challenges, come in three grades - bronze, silver and gold - with gold being the highest class of award. Fiona’s achievement is the first Gold Award through Aberdeenshire Council under the new EDOE registration system, with progress recorded online.

She told the Times: “Everyone takes something different from their time with DOE. I think I’ve become more independent. Volunteering with the very young and the very old has also given me a new perspective on society, and improved my interpersonal skills. And, of course, it looks good on a CV!”

Activities Fiona participated in included volunteering to work with the elderly and youngsters, a fifty mile trek through Inverness-shire, and a residential course in sailing on the West Coast.

She is currently studying three Highers and one Advanced Higher, with the intention of going to university to study international business management.

“The idea of working abroad really appeals to me,” she said. “I’m fascinated by East Asia, and would love to spend time there.”

Course co-ordinator for Ellon Alan Forrest told the Times: “We now have 53 youngsters in Ellon taking part in the awards scheme, which is an incredible number for a small town.”

The Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme is a registered charity founded by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956. It is designed to instil values of confidence, self-reliance and altruism in young people, with the stated aim of “inspiring, guiding and supporting young people in their self-development, and recognising their achievements.”