Two Chanel College students Abi Meehan, 14 and Shelby Colebrook, 14 went for the The Duke of Edinburgh International award. File Photo: Rosie O'Brien / The Observer
Two Chanel College students Abi Meehan, 14 and Shelby Colebrook, 14 went for the The Duke of Edinburgh International award. File Photo: Rosie O'Brien / The Observer

Duke of Edinburgh Award will continue to honour Prince Philip

As Australia's latest Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award recipients were being presented with their honours in Canberra on Friday evening, sadly Prince Philip was taking his last breaths.

With a rich 62-year history in Australia, National Duke of Edinburgh Award DEA Chair, Gary Nairn, said the Prince's passing won't impact the award's program or prestige.

"After a slowdown in participants during 2020 due to COVID, the award is now going from strength to strength," he said.

"In February we had a record number of registrations enrolling to complete the award.

"The award is well established in Australia, it is administered both locally and internationally very well and participation continues to grow."

 

National Duke of Edinburgh Award Chairman, Gary Nairn, during his time as a Federal MP and Minister.
National Duke of Edinburgh Award Chairman, Gary Nairn, during his time as a Federal MP and Minister.

Mr Nairn said since the DEA commenced in Australia in 1959, more than 775,000 young Australians aged between 14 and 24 have participated in the prestigious award across three levels, bronze (aged over 14), silver (aged over 15) and gold (aged over 16).

"Literally while the ceremony was happening yesterday, sadly the Duke was passing away," Mr Nairn said.

Fortunately, Mr Nairn said the 99-year-old Duke's passing didn't dampen the occasion for the latest award recipients.

"When I got home I got a message from our CEO from London that the Duke had passed away," he said.

With the Duke of Edinburgh title being passed to Prince Charles until he becomes King, Mr Nairn said his younger brother, Prince Edward would continue to oversee the awards.

 

 

"Prince Edward, who I have been dealing with since I became chairman in 2018, took over the awards from Prince Philip a number of years ago," he said.

"I've had Prince Edward visit Australia twice and I've visited the UK twice about the awards and he ultimately will become the Duke of Edinburgh and International Chair of the Awards Foundation.

"The award has been growing in Australia in recent years, despite Prince Philip handing it over to Prince Edward to run on his behalf."

On a visit in 1956, Prince Philip announced the DEA would be conducted in Australia to foster the development of the nation's next generation.

Participants must complete Physical Recreation, Skills, Voluntary Service and Adventurous Journey award sections, over a minimum of six months (for bronze) to build the skills, confidence and resilience they need to support their community.

 

Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex during interview with The Australian at Pyrmont in Sydney, is in Australia in his role as chairman of Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex during interview with The Australian at Pyrmont in Sydney, is in Australia in his role as chairman of Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

Now, former federal Minister Mr Nairn said, the DEA is conducted in 137 countries worldwide.

Attending the ceremony with Governor-general David Hurley, Mr Nairn said it was announced preparations were underway to honour the Duke's 100th birthday.

"The Governor-general, who presented the awards to the recipients, even made comment in his speech that they were looking forward to the 100th birthday of the founder of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards on June 10," Mr Nairn said.

"The CEO and myself had organised that there is going to be a reception on June 10 at Government House to mark the Duke's 100 years."

 

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