Royal praise for Shire award group

Fred Belcher, from Portlethen, with his long service certificate
Fred Belcher, from Portlethen, with his long service certificate

Young people from the North-east recently attended a Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) presentation at Holyrood Palace.

The 36-strong group, supported by Aberdeenshire Council, received their gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award from guest presenter, sports broadcaster Alison Walker, after sharing their experiences with the Earl of Forfar.

The Earl congratulated the recipients and heard about their endeavours, which took each 12-18 months of hard work and dedication.

DofE programmes enable participants, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.

Douglas Findlay, the council’s DofE manager, said: “My team and I are very proud of the young folk and their fantastic achievement.

“A gold award proves these youngsters are committed, adventurous, skilfull, physically fit and have contributed to their community. “It’s testament also to the commitment and energy of our band of dedicated volunteers who generously give their valuable time.”

As well as recognising the achievement of the young people, Fred Belcher, from Portlethen, who recently retired at 86 as an Aberdeenshire Council expedition assessor, was thanked for his many years of valued volunteering and received a long service certificate.

Gillian Owen, education and children’s services committee chair, said: “This is a brilliant programme and I’m so pleased for all of the young people who have achieved their gold DofE Award.

“Thank you to Fred for volunteering your time and expertise over the years, and thanks too to the many volunteers across Aberdeenshire who go above and beyond to help our young people realise many fantastic achievements.”