Messages of thanks from DofE participants and Award holders will appear from today on billboards in towns and cities across the UK including at Heathrow airport Terminal 5 – to mark the DofE’s founder’s funeral and thank him for the incredible impact he had on young people.
With a message that reads: ‘HRH The Duke of Edinburgh: thanks for helping us feel limitless’, the giant screens will feature some of the thousands of memories which have flooded into the DofE since last Friday, as people pay tribute to the life-changing experiences the DofE has given them.
His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex who is also Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, has thanked those involved for sharing their personal and moving memories.
His Royal Highness says, “Reading just some of the wonderful memories you have shared about your experiences of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and, in some cases, of meeting my father, has been truly uplifting. I think I may have said once that he was a man that once met, never forgotten.
“He had a unique ability to make a lasting impression in a remarkably short time. I, like all my family, have a lifetime of lasting impressions, inspiration, shared passions and love. He may have departed this world, but his spirit and ethos lives on through his Award, through each and every life touched, transformed, inspired; then, now and in the future. Thank you one and all for helping to create such an extraordinary tribute.”
Since The Duke founded the charity in 1956, 6.7 million young people across the UK have taken part, and since his death thousands have come forward to reveal how the charity has helped them find a purpose, successfully manage their mental health, succeed in employment, grow in confidence, overcome personal challenges and prepare for life.
Some of the young people featured include Lily, 15 a DofE participant in Newham, who explained, “When I did DofE I saw that there was a whole world waiting to be discovered. DofE has shaped my life in so many ways, meeting loads of new people and trying different skills. You feel yourself slowly progressing which is really important. DofE taught me to never hold back, always give it your all. You could succeed, you could fail but that’s the best thing about life – there’s always a door for you, there’s always something that will guide you.”
Jack Bayley, 20, credits the DofE for giving him the perseverance to get through a difficult time after running into trouble at school and suffering with mental health.
A Gold Award holder, he says “I am so proud of getting the Gold Award. I was often described as your ‘average naughty kid’. Without the DofE, I wouldn’t have gained the skills and the confidence that I have today. I started to realise my potential and it pointed me to becoming a PE teacher, which I am training for today.”
DofE CEO Ruth Marvel said “We have been bowled over by the outpouring of love and thanks participants and Award holders have shown for The Duke and the DofE, which has made such a tangible, transformative impact on so many lives. It is a great way to honour The Duke’s service and represent the exceptional young people we work with every day.”
To submit a memory of your experience with the DofE please go to DofE.org/memories The DofE has also launched a Living Legacy Fund, to help the charity give one million more young people, from all circumstances and backgrounds, the opportunity to do their DofE over the next five years. To donate, please go to DofE.org/livinglegacy