Celebrating our Duke of Edinburgh awards successes

It's October 1974 and here's the   Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Murtagh Diamond and Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Diamond, presenting Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards to members of De La Salle Youth Club in St Bede's Hall, South Shields.
It's October 1974 and here's the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Murtagh Diamond and Councillor Mrs Elizabeth Diamond, presenting Silver and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards to members of De La Salle Youth Club in St Bede's Hall, South Shields.

This month marks the 60th anniversary of the hugely popular Duke of Edinburgh’s awards scheme.

And to mark the occasion, I’ve unearthed a couple of old photographs showing young people from South Tyneside receiving their awards.

I’m hoping that the pictures will evoke a lot of memories from those who are in the photograph.

If you were one of them, I’d love to hear from you, and of the times you had gaining your award.

Also, please get in touch with any memorable moments and unusual or noteworthy experiences you have had over the years when taking part in the scheme.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s award was conceived by Prince Philip when, in the post-war years, he was troubled by the fact that boys could leave school at 15 and spend three years drifting before they began National Service at the age of 18.

From modest beginnings in 1956, the D of E, as it is universally known to all those who take part in it, has grown to become a global phenomenon, operating in 140 countries and territories, with more than 2.4 million recipients in the UK alone.

Open to those aged 14 to 24, it is the best-known and arguably most successful enterprise established by any member of the Royal family.

The awards recognise adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement exercises modelled on Kurt Hahn’s solution to the so-called Six Declines of Modern Youth .

They were fitness due to modern methods of locomotion; initiative and enterprise due to the widespread “disease” of spectatoritis (watching rather than participating); memory and imagination due to the confused restlessness of modern life; skill and care due to the weakened tradition of craftsmanship; self-discipline due to the ever-present availability of stimulants and tranquillisers, and compassion due to the “unseemly haste with which modern life is conducted”.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary, adults who missed out on the award in their youth will have a unique opportunity to gain a D of E of their own.

The Duke himself launched the Diamond Challenge, which encourages adults of all ages to embark on an experience of a lifetime.

Rather than the four core elements of the bronze, silver and gold awards, it will be a one-off personal goal.

People who have already signed up for it have decided on everything from an expedition to Machu Picchu to enrolling on a course to overcome a phobia.