The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Diamond Challenge

In celebration of their Diamond Anniversary in 2016, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is asking people to take part in our once-in-a-lifetime DofE-inspired Diamond Challenge and raise funds to help transform young lives. Find out more about a group of six young DofE Leaders, who are being featured on BBC One’s Countryfile, have taken on an inspirational week long DofE Diamond Challenge.

Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award holders Katie, Eleanor, Jen, Alan, Tim and David all met three years ago during a DofE Leadership course in Scotland and have been great friends ever since.

Having seen the benefits the DofE can have first hand, all six of them wanted to do something to help give back to the charity that gave so much to them.

Eleanor, who is now a leader of several DofE expedition groups at Edinburgh Open Award Centre, said “From personal experience as a Gold Award holder, and from observations as a DofE Leader in Edinburgh for the past 3 years, there is no doubt about the positive impact the interpersonal skills, self-esteem and resilience instilled in young people who have taken part in the DofE, has had – or will have. Such opportunities and experiences should be available to all young people.”

I think there’s going to be a continuing need for the DofE to help young people to develop and to push the boundaries but if there was one ambition then it would be that any young person, anywhere in the world, can do it if they want to

The Earl of Wessex, on the future of the DofE Award

So, in their effort to raise funds for the DofE Charity to help put thousands more young people through the DofE, they came up with the idea of a DofE Diamond Challenge triathlon - hiking, canoeing and cycling. The challenge started with a trek up the north face of Ben Nevis, followed by a three day canoe on the Great Glen, from Fort William to Inverness, and then finally a gruelling three day cycle from Inverness to Edinburgh.

To them, this challenge was worth it if it meant ensuring more young people have the opportunity to do their DofE. Tim, who became a volunteer over 5 years ago after originally helping Bronze DofE groups as part of his own Gold DofE programme, said, “We took part in this multi-day, multi-activity DofE Diamond Challenge to help raise money for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, because it’s a great charity that helps change the lives of young people from all backgrounds in the UK and across the world.”

The DofE isn’t just an Award. It’s something that stays with its participants and alumni for life. Explained by Katie, who has been volunteering for the DofE for almost seven years, it’s about ensuring we can give all young people the best opportunity possible to excel in life:

“I really enjoyed my DofE experience when I was at school so I decided to volunteer. I've now been volunteering for almost seven years and have helped supervise expeditions. I firmly believe that it's the best thing that a young person can do. It had an amazing effect on me, and I've personally seen it have a major impact on so many other young people.”

Tune in to BBC One’s Countryfile on iPlayer to see the young leaders during their canoe leg of their DofE Diamond Challenge triathlon. Sign up to take on your own DofE Diamond Challenge here.

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