Leon Dobie

The Award was undeniably one of the greatest experiences of my life, enabling me to connect with my local community and outside world more than any other time in my life. Though I didn't begin my Gold Award, I fondly remember many joyous years of voluntary work at my local youth and community centre, hundreds of games of badminton and of course, the well-known expeditions and camping. Yes, I may have been chased by a herd of cows and been victim to a prank that saw my tent unpegged in the early hours of the morning, but through sun and rain, I connected with my region's millenia-old history. Hiking the 2000-year-old Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland and Cumbria - the northernmost part of the Roman Empire - I first appreciated the beauty and ancient history of our island. DofE was an amazing, life-changing experience and I urge all young people in any Commonwealth country to engage in the programme. This is perhaps His Royal Highness' greatest legacy and I know, even after his passing, DofE will keep changing lives for generations to come.