Victoria Edwards, from Havant in Hampshire, is a remarkable young woman with an inspirational DofE story. Despite suffering a brain haemorrhage in 2010 which caused the left side of her body to become weak and a benign brain tumour leaving her in constant pain, Victoria is the proud achiever of a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).
A committed member of the 3rd Hayling Scout Group, Victoria found out about the DofE through one of her Scout leaders and saw it as a chance to challenge herself, as well as having some fun and adventure at the same time.
Experiencing a number of setbacks along the way, Victoria showed a great deal of perseverance throughout her DofE expedition, as she explained; “For me, the most challenging aspect of my DofE was the expedition. Due to my condition, I’m often confined to a wheelchair but I wanted to walk as much as possible and challenged myself to complete the majority of the route on foot. My team were brilliant throughout; we were all differently abled and worked together well to bring out the best in each other – even if on my first day I tripped over and broke a finger! I still found it fun and at that point knew it would be a great challenge. Having daily intensive physiotherapy sessions, which counted towards my Physical section, definitely helped me to build up my strength for the expedition.”
The Volunteering section proved to be at times demanding for Victoria as she explained; “I have severely limited sight, just 5% in each eye, so volunteering was difficult at times. I volunteered with 1st Bedhampton Scouts and had to ensure that they were aware that my sight may make it difficult to do certain things but that they knew I was comfortable with them asking me questions about it. I also only have use of one hand so the other Scouts were a great support to me and were there to help me if I needed it.”
Victoria continues to volunteer at 1st Bedhampton Scouts and has started helping out at Beaver Scouts whilst also studying for her A Levels and working towards a higher apprenticeship to become a civil servant. Since achieving her Gold Award, Victoria has also continued with her Skills section activity of singing with the Urban Vocal Group.
Speaking about her overall DofE experience, Victoria said; “My DofE has had a huge impact on my life. I went into it thinking I could take part in some of the activities but not all of them. I now feel that there is always a way to do something, sometimes thinking outside of the box to achieve it. It’s given me the focus and determination to take on every challenge and I have found the skills I’ve developed along the way useful as I am now concentrating on my A Levels.”
Victoria concluded; “DofE has really changed my life. I have proved to myself that I am capable of achieving anything I put my mind to and I hope that my experience inspires other people to take part as DofE really is achievable by all!”