Gold DofE Celebration at Buckingham Palace

Gold DofE Celebration at Buckingham Palace

22 May 2023

  • Cambridgeshire ACF

On Friday 19th May, six former Cambs ACF cadets and one adult volunteer visited Buckingham Palace for a Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) celebration. They were joined by six other Cambs cadets and adults who were there as stewards, and two more adults who attended as guests. The event was hosted by HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, and many of those present had the opportunity to meet him. Our many participants at the event ensured our county was one of the larger cadet contingents present, and is proof of our ongoing commitment to DofE.

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Some of the Gold DofE (former) cadets who attended

The award celebration was effectively a garden party, split into separate morning and afternoon events to accommodate the large numbers of attendees. All of the cadets who completed their Gold awards have now left the ACF, due to the celebration being delayed by the Pandemic.

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Our stewarding team.

One of those who had completed the Gold award was Private Ryan Dunthorne of the Royal Anglian Regiment. Previously a Staff Cadet and Coy Sgt Major for 1 Coy, Ryan has now joined the Army and was pleased to see some of his old cadet friends and colleagues again. He also had the honour of being selected to meet the Duke of Edinburgh, alongside his former DofE Coy Officer, Lloyd Lester. Ryan said; ‘I was really happy to be selected. We lined up on an alleyway for the Duke of Edinburgh to walk down, and when he came to me, I saluted. He asked me if I was still a cadet and I told him I had gone on to join the Army. He said well done, and congratulations on getting my Gold DofE.’

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Ryan & Lloyd speak to The Duke of Edinburgh.

The ACF stewarding team consisted of 26 cadets and adults in total from different counties. Our participants had an early start, (04.00) to get to the palace for 07.00. When they arrived, they helped set up the event, arranged chairs and handed out vast numbers of programmes to the event’s 10,000 guests. They were rewarded with tea, lunch and a very interesting and memorable day. Adult Under Officer Ros Whyall, our County DofE Officer, was also able to meet the Duke of Edinburgh. She said: ‘I told him I was grateful to be there, to celebrate the success of our participants and to represent the ACF. He said thank you, and well done.’

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Former DofE rep Lloyd Lester.

Mr Lloyd Lester was present a special guest, invited due to his dedicated work for DofE in Cambs ACF in both 1 and 2 Coy.

The Duke of Edinburgh commended the ACF stewarding team in his afternoon speech, and they received lots of praise from the National DofE leadership team. AUO Whyall also praised the cadets, saying: ‘Their dedication and effort was really impressive. The team really gelled.’

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The Duke of Edinburgh chats to guests.

Other speakers at the event included England footballer Jill Scott and Charlotte Hawkins from Good Morning Britain and Classic FM. Also present were Sally Orange, the ACF DofE Ambassador, and Brigadier Neville Holmes, Deputy Commander Cadets.

It was also an opportunity for those who had completed the award to reflect on what they had achieved. Ryan Dunthorne said; ‘The best thing I took from DofE was learning to talk to people I didn’t know, being put with a group of people and having to get on and work together. This was really important when I joined the Army. It also helped me to get involved in volunteering and to help others. In the cadets, I had the time of my life, the camps, shooting and adventure training. I would push everyone to do DofE, and cadets as well.’


The National ACF stewarding team and guests.

The Gold DofE Awardees were: PI Mathew Parker, Pte Ryan Dunthorne, Lara Guiet, Erin Williams, Tpr Oliver King, Edward Hill and Rhyder Cameron-Wickes. SMI Jordan Bullman attended as a guest of Edward Hill.

The stewarding team were: Cdt Ethan Fergusson, (CRC) Cdt Cameron Barlow (CRC) Cdt Sgt William Clarke (Huntingdon) Cdt CSM Arthur Greaney (Chesterton) Cdt CSM Samantha Bowler-Legate (Waterbeach).

Text by SI Doug Stuart with thanks to AUO Ros Whyall and Pte Ryan Dunthorne.

Photo credits; AUO Whyall, Mr Lloyd Lester SMI Bullman and Claudia Dunthorne.