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Blast from the Past

“How has the Duke of Edinburgh Award affected my life?

In 1986, I was year 8. Early in the year I had reconnected with a friend from primary school. She was attending a different school which supported The Duke of Ed program. After hearing about it we both joined up as Independent Participants as my school was not involved. Together we completed the Bronze and Silver levels, moving onto the Gold level in 1987.

During 1987 the Award was celebrating it’s 25th Anniversary Year. The Award was asking Participants to complete their expedition following the traces of an explorer. As an independent Participant, we did not have enough people to do a hike which we organised and planned. Our next step was to contact the Award office in Melbourne and ask for names of other independents who may be interested in joining us. We were given a list of four names, the first two, whom we contacted, joined us on our hike in September 1987. My now husband (Martin) of 25 years was one of those independents who joined us.

During 1988, both Martin and myself met Prince Andrew at the World Expo in Brisbane as we volunteer for the association.

Both of us did our Gold Residential Project at Portsea Children’s camp. I completed the Gold Level in 1988 and was very fortunate to be presented at St James Palace, London after completing year 12 in 1989.

Martin completed his studies then participated in an agricultural exchange for 9 months in Europe. Unfortunately, he did not finish his Gold level. It was nearly completed but between his overseas exchange, starting a new job, building our first home and us marrying in 1992 time went by.

I credit The Duke of Ed Award for reuniting me with my friend and meeting my husband.

Now, my son completed his Gold Award in 2015 and my daughter will finish her Gold Level in November this year. Both have attended the Portsea Children’s camp as part of the Gold level, Residential Project. Our third child will soon complete her Bronze Level. My children have participated through their school, Braemar College, Woodend.

The Award encourages commitment, service to others, challenges yourself and gives the opportunity to try something new. It also offers the opportunity to meet others including possibly your future husband or wife. I have been very fortunate in what the Award has given to me and my family."


-- Hayley Stockdale- Gold Award Holder