'The most important lesson I've learned is to not give up' - Stevenage woman pays tribute to Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Avika Shah from Stevenage explained the positive impact that the Duke of Edinburgh's Award has had on her life

Avika Shah from Stevenage explained the positive impact that the Duke of Edinburgh's Award has had on her life - Credit: Herts County Council

An 18-year-old from Stevenage has described how the Duke of Edinburgh's Award helped her "build her independence" as the country prepares for the funeral of Prince Philip.

Avika Shah, who has cerebral palsy, is undertaking her Gold programme through the Hertfordshire Virtual Group - an online group for young people who choose to complete the award independent of schools or other centres.

After achieving her Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Avika said that participating has helped her to "build her independence and to succeed at doing many different things".

Describing her expedition as her biggest challenge so far, Avika said: "The most important lesson I've learned is to not give up and keep trying.

"I have really enjoyed learning lots of different skills and knowing that I can achieve them. 


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"Doing my personal best and achieving Bronze and Silver was a particular highlight."

The death of HRH Prince Philip on Friday, April 9 sparked tributes from young people whose lives have been transformed by the award.

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Since 2013 a total of 41,342 young people have enrolled in the scheme through Herts County Council, with 19.072 achieving awards across the three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold - through volunteering, physical activity, learning new skills and residential trips (at Gold level only)

Participants have until they are aged 25 to complete the awards.

Jenny Coles, the county council's director of children's services, said: "The Duke of Edinburgh's Award has been a part of Hertfordshire County Council's contribution to enhancing the lives and life chances of our young people since the early 1970s.

"This fantastic legacy from the Duke of Edinburgh will continue to offer life-changing and inclusive opportunities to young people from diverse backgrounds, equipping them with independence, essential life skills, camaraderie and a chance to contribute to their communities."

Prince Philip's funeral will take place at 3pm today at St George's Chapel.

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