Student gets the royal seal of approval

Matthew Binns
Matthew Binns

A STUDENT proved he was a class act after passing his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and Queen’s Scout Award with a royal seal of approval.

Matthew Binns, 21, of The Dene, travelled to St James’ Palace to received his honour from the Duke.

He was also awarded the Queen’s Scout Award - only the second person in Hastings to receive it in the last 10 years. Matthew later took part in a special passing Parade of Queen’s Scouts at Windsor Castle in the presence of her Majesty the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. Chief Scout and TV adventure guru Bear Grylls also saluted and congratulated Matthew.

Matthew, who is studying International Relations at the University of Essex, has been in the Scouts since joining as a Beaver aged five. The award was a celebration and recognition of his achievements.

Working towards these awards, Matthew’s diverse activities included learning a skill, for which he took singing lessons. This led to playing the part of Jean Val Jean in the young Bexhill Local Operatic and Dramatic Society performance of Les Miserables in 2009. His physical skill involved running in the 2010 Hastings Half-Marathon completing it in one hour 44 minutes.

Voluntary work included being a young leader with a Beaver Scout colony helping to organise their activities. For his expedition he planned and took part in a four-day camping trip in the Scottish Highlands. The residential part of the awards saw him travel to South Africa to volunteer at the Missionvale Care Centre in Port Elizabeth. Matthew spent six weeks helping distribute food packages, entertaining the school children and assisting care workers. He said: “Not only have I learned a lot about life and the world through my experiences but I have also learned a lot about myself by partaking in both schemes. I’ve come to realise you can achieve great things in life if you don’t hold yourself back.”