A South Shields teenager will be given the Royal seal of approval in London today when she is presented with a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Julia Rutter, 19, from Bardon Court, has spent the last year working towards the award as part of her work with the Durham Army Cadet Force.
The award saw Julia - along with fellow cadets Colin Hane, Kate Wilson, Becky Dewhurst, Nancy McKenna and Conor Malcolm, - spend 12 months volunteering and demonstrating their skills.
The youngsters also had to take on six months of physical training involving two expeditions in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District, as well as a week-long residential course.
But their hard work has paid off as the group get set to receive their award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace Gardens.
Julia, who hopes to become a paramedic, credits the award with helping her to gain a place at the University of Sunderland in September to study paramedic science and out of hospital care.
The South Tyneside College health and social care student said: “Durham Army Cadet Force (DACF) pushes for us to do a lot of things while we are part of the organisation, but this is by far one of the best things that they have enabled me to complete since I joined.
“For my volunteering section I volunteered at Sight Services in South Shields which is an organisation that provides support services for individuals who are blind or visually impaired.
“My residential week away was also completed outside of DACF as I used my week at Ford Castle with the National Citizen Service for this section which was completed in 2015.”
Julia used her hockey training and competitions at county, brigade and national level as a cadet to improve her sports team skills for the physical section. And for skills section she learned first aid with the cadets.
Julia added: “Durham Army Cadet Force has provided me with a skill that will remain with me for the remainder of my life which is first aid skills.
“DACF trains cadets and young adults in first aid so that they can eventually gain a Level 3 First Aid at Work qualification.
“Throughout this section I managed to compete at county level, brigade level, national level and interservices, which is with other cadet forces.
“Everything that the Army Cadet Force (ACF) provides involves cadets working individually and as a team which can be carried on in their lives.
“If it wasn’t for the ACF pushing me to achieve my Gold DofE award I wouldn’t be looking forward to starting university in September.”