Grand Slam-winning rugby player Justine Lucas returns to Baldock's Knights Templar School to present Duke of Edinburgh awards

PUBLISHED: 10:27 02 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:52 02 May 2017

Justine Lucas, centre front, with Knights Templar pupils Alexander Massie, Bill Bowkett, James Cook, Annie Ferrari, Ellen King, Charlie Duke and Bethany Harley. Picture: Knights Templar School

Justine Lucas, centre front, with Knights Templar pupils Alexander Massie, Bill Bowkett, James Cook, Annie Ferrari, Ellen King, Charlie Duke and Bethany Harley. Picture: Knights Templar School

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Grand Slam-winning rugby player Justine Lucas has returned to her old school in Baldock to present students with Duke of Edinburgh awards.

Justine Lucas, back centre, with Knights Templar students who won Duke of Edinburgh gold awards.Justine Lucas, back centre, with Knights Templar students who won Duke of Edinburgh gold awards.

Justine Lucas, who plays for Lichfield Ladies RFC and England, was guest of honour at Knights Templar School as she gave 141 students their bronze, silver and gold DofE certificates and badges.

Justine herself completed bronze, silver and gold DofE awards while at Knights Templar between 2001 and 2008 – and was interviewed onstage during the evening.

She said: “Doing DofE was definitely a highlight of mine while at school.

“It has taught me skills such as teamwork, resilience, determination and communication which I use on a day-to-day basis and as a rugby player.

“Having those skills has definitely helped me get to where I am today.”

Knights Templar DofE co-ordinator Sarah Hammond Ward said afterwards: “Justine inspired us all.”

The DofE is the world’s leaving youth achievement award, giving young people aged 14 to 24 the opportunity to take part in a sport or skill while volunteering in the community.

The night saw several DofE gold groups speak about their personal experiences – including the five-day residency away from home required for a gold award.

Annie Ferrari and Charlotte Duke described their time at Blackpool Zoo, while Bethany Harley talked about her week earning a sailing qualification at Grafham Water near Huntingdon.

The scheme also requires participants to complete a gruelling expedition across rough terrain – and James Cook and Alex Massie gave a brief presentation about their Gold expedition in Wales, where they walked 50 miles (80km) through Snowdonia in four days with no outside communication or help.

Alex said: “It is the daddy of all walks. I had so much fun doing it. Doing DofE is probably one of the best things that we have done in our school lives. The friends you make and the people you meet will stay with you forever.”

Knights Templar head Tim Litchfield said the evening had been inspirational, and spoke passionately about the DofE programme.

He said: “All of our award winners have worked extremely hard to get these awards and every one of them should be, as we are, very proud of their achievements.

“I am fully committed to ensuring that the scheme remains a central part of what we have to offer here at Knights Templar School.”

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