Penelope Cooke

My head Miss Imgram and my Home Economics teacher Miss Ferries encouraged me to do the Award Scheme. I was very shy, my twin sisters carer and needed to challenge myself. I attended Holly Lodge High School in Liverpool.

I began the scheme in 1961 and completed my gold award in 1965 It was my inspiration, placing me in challenging situations, dealing with children with speech and hearing impairment to climbing Snowden. It changed my life by making me far more independent and self sufficient.

The scheme introduced me to others who gave me the confidence to take part in activities that were challenging.

I met the Duke at Buckingham Palace in the State room where he presented me with my award and that was a great experience which I remember with fondness.

I was interviewed for teacher training and on every occasion the award was recognised. I began my teaching career in 1968 and carried on with the scheme encouraging my pupils to take it up. It also helped me to encourage them to participate in outdoor activities both difficult for me as well as them ie rock climbing, caving etc

My own children took part in it it and my grandson is now embarking on his silver award.

There is no doubt it gave me the confidence in my professional life and I can only thank those two people who inspired me to take part. I am forever grateful to them. They shaped my future.