Gold DofE participant Samuel Odusina has landed a starring role alongside the Prime Minster and the Archbishop of Canterbury in HRH The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Sam, 20, from Hackney, London, has been chosen to read from the litany of prayer in front of a congregation of 2,000 world figures, and hundreds of thousands more watching from home.
The National Service of Thanksgiving takes place at 10.30am on Tuesday 5th June 2012 at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Speaking about being chosen for the role, Sam said,
“I am delighted – this is a real honour. I couldn’t believe it when I got the call. It will be a once in a lifetime experience for me – especially to be speaking alongside people like the Prime Minister. It’s a great opportunity but I’m really nervous, I hope I get it right!”
Sam grew up in Hackney in north London and started the DofE at school when all his friends signed up. Many of them later dropped out but Sam stuck with it, completing his Bronze and Silver.
“I wanted to prove everyone wrong, do something people don’t expect. With the DofE you have to put in extra work. For me it was a chance to think and reflect on life and I loved it, I didn’t want it to end.”
Sam got the opportunity to go to Gambia for his Gold, an experience that changed his life.
“It couldn’t have come at a better time. It got me away from everything and showed me how lucky I was. I was with young people of the same age living in Gambia and they were all willing to learn but they had to make do, they lived off the land, they had very little. It made me sad but also encouraged me; I saw the world in a different way.”
Sam came back from the trip with a renewed desire to give back and began volunteering as a football coach with 15-year-olds and he’s now a fully-fledged coach and team captain. He is currently studying for a business degree at university and feels the DofE has led him to all kinds of new opportunities – not least his role in the Jubilee celebrations.
“I feel the DofE is more important than school. The skills I have learned – the ability to survive, my commitment, having to take the lead, the volunteering and all the things that challenge you. It’s given me so much more confidence; I’m really looking forward to the Thanksgiving Service. I would never have thought that I’d be doing something like this, I feel really honoured.”