Emmy’s story in her own words:

“DofE sounded like a really good challenge, and I love throwing myself into a challenge. My family have a saying, we can do the same things as everyone else, we just might need to find a different way of getting around it. So, I signed the forms then worked out what my skill, physical and volunteering would be.”

“I’m visually impaired due to a genetic condition. I have night blindness and colour blindness and now I don’t have any peripheral vision at all, just central vision which is hard in terms of uneven ground or seeing if anything is coming towards me. My sight has been deteriorating since I was six when I was diagnosed, it’s all I’ve ever known so it doesn’t really bother me. My vision could go completely so I’ve been learning braille and using audio more as a back-up just in case. If it happens, it happens.”

“I was already in a youth choir so that was my skills for Bronze and I went every Thursday. For my physical I went to the multi-gym at school using equipment like the treadmill, bike, rower, chest press and leg press. Since Year 9 I’ve been volunteering with the lab technicians at school so I asked if I could spend more time doing that in my break and at lunchtime for my DofE.”

“I find it really fulfilling helping someone else out. The DofE opened up so many opportunities and led me on to other forms of volunteering, I joined a garden club for children who are disabled where we’d made fat balls for the birds, bird boxes and hedgehog boxes and other stuff. They even let me plan and run a session for myself. I also volunteered for a week with my Dad one summer doing odd jobs, basically all the stuff he didn’t want to do himself!”

“The Bronze expedition practice was tough, really cold and windy and absolutely chucking it down with rain. Myself and another disabled girl Francesca stayed in a trailer tent but we helped the others set up tents. I think I was the only person who slept really well that night.

On the DofE:

“DofE really gave me a lot of confidence, it was such a big achievement, something I wasn’t sure I could manage so doing it was a real boost. The biggest thing was being able to mostly do it by myself. I think we were the first adapted group at our school and they did a really good job. The LSAs were there but not involved unless they really needed to be. And the other girls in the group supported me, we supported each other, it was a valuable team building exercise and we had some great laughs.”

“The school have gone on to run other adapted DofE groups so it’s been accessible for a lot of people with a disability. It’s nice because it feels like our group showed that it is possible for disabled people to do the DofE.”