Thursday 14 November 2019

Duke regaled with tales of epic challenges

Louise Hogan

THE Duke of Edinburgh heard tales of epic challenges and countless hours of community work when he met a group of adventurous young people.

Around 60 children and teenagers from schools throughout the country -- including Sligo, Cork, the North and Cabra in Dublin -- met Prince Philip at Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, yesterday.

Patrick Callaghan, chief executive of the President's Awards, Gaisce, said the prince spent 30 minutes meeting the young people, talking about the challenges they had undertaken and also greeting the leaders who run the programme.

The awards, which recognise personal challenges set by young people including volunteer work and adventure journeys, have spread to around 130 countries after the Duke of Edinburgh first started the scheme in 1956 in the UK.

Keith Rowe, director of the Irish Racing Academy, said the prince had shown great interest in the young proteges of the FAS education course during the visit to the Irish National Stud.

"The kids in RACE do the Gaisce awards," Mr Rowe said. "The duke was very interested in that."

He travelled from the equine showcase event in Tully, Co Kildare, in a separate entourage from the Queen, to attend the reception at Farmleigh.

Mr Callaghan explained that the Gaisce award, of which President Mary McAleese is the patron, was virtually identical to that originally established up by the prince.

Young people aged between 15 and 25 can earn a bronze, silver or gold award for challenges in the community, developing a personal skill, taking part in a sport or undertaking an adventure journey.

Last year, 7,200 young people signed up to take part. "They have delivered millions of euro in voluntary work to communities and developed a sense of themselves," Mr Callaghan said.

Irish Independent

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