DofE stories

Thomas Richards Vassell

“I was first introduced to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) when I started going to Westminster House Youth Club. My mother was a firm believer in the value of education and structure, particularly within the area I’m from, Peckham, which is a highly deprived area, notorious for gang crime and drugs.

The club invited me to start my DofE at a time when my mother became seriously ill with breast cancer. I seized the opportunity with both hands as I saw this as a way of distracting myself from what was going on at home. On a high returning from my first practice Bronze expedition, I was left devastated with the news that my mother had passed away.

I almost gave up but, with the support of my DofE Leader and club, I was encouraged to continue. I am now the proud holder of both my Bronze and Silver DofE Awards and I’m working towards my Gold.

My DofE Volunteering – training in youth work and helping younger members of the club with their expeditions – helped me to secure an apprenticeship with Southwark Council. I’m also hoping to do a Sports Science degree after getting a taste for it through my Physical section. I know my mum would be so proud I’m on the right path and it’s all thanks to Westminster House and the DofE for helping me through a particularly difficult time in my life.”  

Thomas continues to volunteer at Westminster House, helping others to achieve their DofE Awards.

In order to view our website, you need to upgrade your browser. Please consider the following options.


Google Chrome

Mozilla Firefox

Internet Explorer