Young adventurers scale new heights to receive award

Susan Faulkner (left), and Natasha Gomes, from the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Centre at St Leonards Academy, were presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Awards by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field and East Sussex County Council Chairman, Chris Dowling.
Susan Faulkner (left), and Natasha Gomes, from the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Centre at St Leonards Academy, were presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Awards by the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field and East Sussex County Council Chairman, Chris Dowling.
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THE SKY is the limit for two young adventurers who scaled one of Britain’s highest mountains as part of their Duke of Edinburgh gold award.

Susie Faulkner, 21, from Ore and Natasha Gomes, from Hastings, successfully completed their award programme to earn a visit to meet the Duke at St James Palace in the summer.

The DofE is recognised as the world’s leading achievement award for young people. It takes a minimum of 12 months to gain a Gold Award, although many undertake DofE activities over a much longer period.

The girls had to volunteer in their local community, learn a new skill, achieve a physical activity and plan and undertake an expedition.

As part of their expedition they scaled the 3,500 ft high Mount Snowdon in north Wales and completed a 100km walk through the Lake District.

Susie, who works at Sussex Coast College, will fly out to Tanzania to take on the 19,000 ft high Mount Kilimanjaro.

She said: “It was a real challenge at times because you have to think on your feet and manage difficult situations.

“But it was all great experience which I can use in the work place. I am now a qualified group leader and I take young people out camping at the weekends.

“I understand better how to achieve things and work as a team now. I will tackle Kilimanjaro next month and it is my dream to climb Everest one day.”

Natasha, who is 21, from Hastings, volunteered with a church youth club. Currently working as a care home assistant she is hoping her award will help her get into university to study nursing.

The girls’ mentor and leader Gill Dearman is the assistant principal at St Leonards Academy.

She said: “We are very proud of the girls and their achievements.

“They have learned essential skills for life which will stand them in good stead for the future.

“Over the past five years, they have learned the importance of team building and interpersonal skills. I am sure it will help them achieve success in the future and they will inspire the next generation of candidates.”