Grand gold duke award

AFTER six years of hard work and commitment, sister and brother Eilidh and Iain Mactier completed the prestigious Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and were presented with their Gold Awards at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

Surrounded by celebrities from the world of television, music and radio, the siblings were presented with their awards along with some 3000 young people from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North of England.

Former pupils of Bearsden Academy, Eilidh and Iain were introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme at school.

Currently five of East Dunbartonshire’s secondary schools deliver the award scheme and there is the additional ‘Allander Open Award Centre’ which operates out of Milngavie Community Education Centre for those unable to access the programme through school.

Anyone aged between 14 and 24 can do a programme at one of the three progressive levels which when successfully completed, lead to a bronze, silver or gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The programme requires persistence, commitment and personal development over a period of time and every activity must be successfully completed and assessed.

Eilidh said: “Completing the bronze, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh Award has taken me six years in total. The gold award was the biggest challenge. I volunteered to be a ‘Study Buddy’ for junior pupils at Bearsden Academy, continued playing piano and managed to pass Grade 8, and for my sport I joined the Edinburgh University running club.

“The most exciting part was the residential challenge, which I completed while in Singapore on a university exchange programme. The toughest part of the award was the expedition for which we tramped 80km over four days in the Cairngorms in really terrible weather.

“Completing the Duke of Edinburgh Award taught me the importance of true teamwork, particularly during the expedition.”

Iain said: “I am so proud. Like Eilidh, I completed the skill section in piano playing and the commitment to regular practice meant that I got so much more from my lessons.

“I started off learning to play golf while I was at school, but it was only when I went to Aberdeen University that I managed to complete the physical recreation section by joining the athletic club, which I still greatly enjoy. For my service I helped as a young leader with the Beaver Scouts in Bearsden, and now I’m a Cub Scout assistant in Aberdeen.

“In fifth and sixth year I attended West of Scotland Senior Schools Orchestra residential weeks, but the biggest challenge was the Gold Expedition. My award was completed over five and a half years – definitely worthwhile completing the programme. We are very grateful to Dennis Lappin and Shona Panton, Charles, Alison and team at Milngavie for all their help and encouragement.”