Jonathan receives his Gold Award at Palace

THE son of the Rector of the parishes of Tartaraghan and Diamond has received his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award in the prestigious setting of St James’s Palace, London.

Jonathan Hilliard was among a large number of young achievers from across the UK, including a sizeable group from Northern Ireland, who received their award certificate from the D of E’s patron and founder – HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Jonathan chose to receive his award in London, rather than Hillsborough, as he is in his second year studying electrical and electronic engineering in the University of Bath. He attended the Royal School, Armagh, where he achieved his Gold Award.

There is a well established Duke of Edinburgh’s Award group in the Royal School, led by David Cunningham and a team of other trained teachers. Jonathan was one of six former Royal School pupils who received their certificates at the ceremony in November, in the presence of their parents, and was pleased that his teacher was also present at St James’s Palace.

Jonathan worked tirelessly through the five sections of his D of E programme to achieve his Gold Award. His activities included swimming with Portadown Amateur Swimming Club, playing the clarinet with the South Ulster Youth Band, and helping with the sound and recording system in Tartaraghan church – and being a leader at Scripture Union and New Wine summer camps.

His Gold expedition was in the Scottish highlands. Throughout his D of E, Jonathan was able to prove himself to be a great team member, leader, and decision maker. Jonathan is also an enthusiastic ‘bog snorkeller’, a fun sport that involves snorkelling in bog drains. He regularly competes in Peatlands Park.

The Gold Award presentation is a celebration and recognition of the achievements of these young people in completing their Gold programme, to mark the hard work, determination and perseverance required. Young people will achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award if they show persistence, commitment and personal development over a period of time. Every activity must be successfully completed and assessed. The result is the world’s leading achievement award for young people, recognised by employers and universities alike.

Jonathan also achieved his Silver Award through the Royal School, and before that he achieved his Bronze Award through Tartaraghan (5th Portadown) Boys’ Brigade company. Currently there is a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Group in Tartaraghan Parish Hall, called ‘Target’, and led by Frances Kerr, a teacher in Clounagh Junior High School. Frances offers young people in the local area the opportunity to take part in the award at all levels.