Lessa Gore-Brown

I first got involved with the Award when I did my Bronze & Silver levels at school. Despite having our tiny tent collapse on us in the rain in the middle of the night, finding sheep eating our food in the morning, plus sinking to my waist in a peat bog, we also had some amazing weather and the view of the stars in the night sky over Cheddar Gorge is still etched in my brain. My DofE memories are my best school memories. I was fortunate to have a hugely enthusiastic Award leader, who went on to receive an MBE for his services to the Award, and also had the support of my father who is still heavily involved in the Award at his school, despite retiring a few years ago. After Uni I decided to embark on my Gold Award, setting up a youth group in my church with friends and doing my expedition with a completely new group of people, and whilst attending a language course in the Spanish mountains for my residential, I met an Australian who is now my husband. I remember meeting Prince Philip at my Gold Award ceremony and completely freezing when he asked my what my skill activity had been! (after a few seconds I did remember!) Since then I helped supervise the Award at all levels in the UK, including taking Gold participants to the Swiss Alps for their expedition, which was such an amazing opportunity. I emigrated to Australia and now my husband & I live with our two young children in Brisbane, and I am fortunate to be the Award leader at the school I teach at. We run a Bronze AJ on the South Passage Tall Ship every year in Moreton Bay, and I never get tired of the most amazing views and seeing how much the students love the trips. Getting an email from the Award Office to say a student has achieved their Award is always a highlight of my week. I am so grateful for the Award for giving me all these wonderful experiences. Without it I would not have met my husband and be living in such a stunning part of the world, and be able to provide my students with these opportunities.