Alison Leslie

What a fabulous idea this award scheme... I was only sorry that à heavy school timetable and too many interests meant not going further than bronze... But I've never forgotten my Community Service visits to an elderly war veteran alone in the world and living in a retirement home in St Andrew's (Scotland). Sometimes I really dragged my feet on the way there and I found the smell of that old people's home really difficult (can still smell it as I write!) but the way his face lit up when I held his hand and listening to the same stories over a cup of over-milky tea every week I came to realise how much a simple visit.. Just an hour in a week, can mean to someone who has no-one. I visited after the end of the schemes obligation and won't forget how important it is to take the time to listen, hold a hand.

The expedition was hard... Lomond Hills, Fife. It was shared with people I didn't much like, it poured with rain and we argued and got lost and cold and wet. But we did it, and learned a lot about ourselves and each other over that weekend. It was certainly character building and taught tolerance and the value of diplomacy, advance planning and having the right clothes for the conditions.. we came back singing in the rain, more or less, I think! I have never been more glad to see a school minibus... We all got our award and the sense of achievement on managing this is something all teenagers could benefit from then, and now. Thank you and RIP, wonderful DofE !