news 09.04.21

Celebrating the life of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, an inspirational and committed champion of young people

It is with great sadness that The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award charity (DofE) and The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation acknowledges the death of Founder and Patron, HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

Sixty-five years ago, HRH Prince Philip established The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The DofE has become one of The Duke’s most remarkable achievements and is woven into the fabric of the UK, equipping and empowering young people from all communities to build the skills, confidence, and resilience they need to make the most out of life and make a difference to the world around them.

Whilst the charity mourns the loss of its founder, it celebrates His Royal Highness’ incredible legacy. Ruth Marvel, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award said:

“The Duke’s timeless vision for young people has never been more relevant or needed. The DofE has played a crucial role in supporting young people to survive and thrive despite the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, and we will continue to build on his legacy.

“The Duke was a lifelong advocate for young people, believing in each individual’s potential and creating in the DofE what he saw as a ‘do-it-yourself growing up kit’. We’re honoured to continue HRH’s work, to ensure that all young people – especially those from marginalised groups – can benefit from the better educational outcomes, employment prospects, community ties and better mental health that are associated with doing DofE.”

In the UK alone, a phenomenal 6.7 million young people have benefitted from taking on the personal challenge of a DofE Award so far.

Today, the charity is calling for anyone involved in the DofE over the decades – including alumni and volunteers – to get in touch and share their DofE stories and memories at DofE.org.

Gold Award holder Gemma from Luton shared how her DofE experience impacted her:

“Doing my DofE has had a huge impact on my general wellbeing as it has shown me that no matter what life throws at me, I can do anything I set my mind to.

“Even though I suffered many different challenges and setbacks along the way, I showed myself and others that no matter what mental health issues I face, it is possible to achieve anything I want. Even when others felt I would fail.”

The DofE in the UK is part of a global network of organisations that deliver the Award. John May, Secretary General of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation, said:

“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has transformed the lives of millions of young people around the world and has touched the lives of millions more through its impact on local communities. Through the personal leadership and involvement of our Founder, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, the Award has spread to more than 130 countries and territories and remains as relevant today as it ever was.”

The DofE works with thousands of organisations across the UK to run the DofE, including schools, academies, youth groups, businesses, voluntary organisations, fostering agencies, young offender institutions and hospitals, enabling young people from all backgrounds and circumstances to enjoy and benefit from the challenge of taking on DofE.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh founded the DofE in 1956, inspired by his former headmaster at Gordonstoun, Dr Kurt Hahn. HRH The Duke of Edinburgh remained heavily involved with the charity, as Chairman of Trustees until his 80th birthday and remaining as Patron throughout his life. HRH celebrated attending his 500th Gold Award Presentation in the UK in 2013, and carried out engagements on behalf of the DofE, visiting DofE groups both within the UK and across the world, up until his retirement from public engagements in 2017.

HRH The Earl of Wessex is an active member of the Board of Trustees for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and is Chairman of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. As well as his Trustee responsibilities, he regularly attends meetings, engagements, and presentations both nationally and internationally on behalf of both charities.

Share DofE stories and memories at DofE.org.