story 2 December 2021

81-year-old Jean is committed to assessing her DofE groups

Jean has been a DofE Assessor for over 45 years. Now 81, she still spends her weekends hiking through the countryside and mountains to monitor expeditions although, she admits, she’s traded in her tent for a campervan.

“I started teaching in a school in Chertsey in 1970 and the headmistress asked me to investigate The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. That’s how I became involved in the assessing side. I had one Gold student and found them an expedition in Wales where I met a policeman who roped me into helping with the Brecon Beacon assessor panel. At the moment I’m running a Gold DofE group, one girl has bad knees and can’t walk far, we have a boy with Downs Syndrome, another with ADHD and a girl with a bad back. They are all different, with different needs but it doesn’t matter, they always get there in the end. To me that’s what the DofE is about, everyone is an individual with potential. Every child deserves a chance to reach their potential.”

“Since my husband died six years ago, I’m free to go assessing anytime. I get some difficult groups and do quite a lot assessing of assessors. Also both Surrey and Wales DofE programmes have put me on to a lot of disability groups as an Assessor. I’m there to see them at the start, once on the hill and in the camp in the evening although I have a campervan to stay in now rather than a tent!”

“It’s so exciting to do things with young people. The DofE takes young people at any level, helps them set themselves a challenge and we facilitate and encourage that challenge as much as we can.”

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