james richard valentine

I was among almost the first cohort to obtain my Gold Award which I did through my public school, Oundle. I remember with fondness and pride three aspects: the workshop project which involved the construction of a full-sized hovercraft; the endurance trip which required us to travel by bike from Northamptonshire to Buckinghamshire (and back) camping en route and reporting in to police stations to verify progress (always good for a cup of coffee, at least) and finally the visit to the Palace in, I think, 1962 to collect the Award from the Duke himself. He spoke to each of us in turn and I was astounded that he knew already about my hovercraft and asked me all about it. We were allowed to stroll in the Palace grounds before the ceremony and I still vividly recall (and was suitably impressed by) the fact that the ducks and flamingoes on the lake not only were given toast rather than bread to eat but the crusts were cut off. Altogether it was a most memorable experience and I just wish I could find my DofE lapel badge