Bobmore Lane, Marlow, Buckinghamshire SL7 1JE
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Gold DofE Award Achievement

GMS are delighted to announce that one of our Year 13 students, Imogen Greene, has achieved the 3rd and final level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award: the prestigious Gold Award. She will soon receive an invite to attend a Gold DofE Award Presentation at one of the royal palaces, and will be presented with her award by a member of the Royal Family.

Imogen started her DofE journey in 2016, when she decided to set herself a challenge and enrol for the Bronze DofE Award, delivered by Miss H Murray at Great Marlow School. She approached the local Brownie group and they were delighted to take her up on her offer to help at their meetings every week for 3 months. She chose to do hockey for 6 months for her physical section, and to learn new chords and strumming patterns on her acoustic guitar as her skill. The mode of transport for the Bronze expedition was walking, and Imogen and her friends called their team ‘The Super 6’. The aim they set themselves for the journey was ‘To observe wildlife and their habitats’. The expedition took place in the beautiful Chiltern Hills and Imogen and the other Super 6s successfully completed a two day journey with an overnight camp in between.

Spurred on by her Bronze success, Imogen was keen to progress to the next level of the award and in 2017 she enrolled for Silver. She continued to help with the Brownies for her volunteering section, but chose a different sport for her physical and did football instead. To further her musical talents, Imogen decided to develop her piano playing expertise for her skills section. The mode of transport for the Silver expedition was paddling and after completing all the necessary training, planning their route and setting themselves an aim: ‘To improve teamwork and communication’ the Silvers were ready to embark on their journey, which took place in the stunning Norfolk Broads. The students impressed their assessor with their enthusiasm and pace, as they worked their way around the intricate web of waterways within the broads and despite one of her team members falling in along the way, Imogen managed to complete her three day canoeing expedition.

In 2019, Imogen decided to continue her studies at GMS and started 6th form. The DofE Award Manager was delighted that Imogen also chose to continue with her DofE journey and take on the challenges required in order to achieve the Gold level of the award. She decided to participate in a different activity for her volunteering section, and set herself the task of teaching her mum to speak Spanish in a year. Her Spanish tutor was impressed with her ability to teach this difficult language. Imogen, again, set herself a different activity for her physical section and focused on running. Her aim was to improve her time on a 5km run over a 12 month period. Moving away from musical instruments and onto the Rubik’s cube, for her skill Imogen was determined to solve the cube in under 45 seconds using the CFOP speedcubing method. She managed to do this, and her assessor commented; ‘Imogen’s speed and dexterity of movement are compelling to watch’. The Gold expedition mode of transport was paddling and Imogen and her group set themselves the aim: ‘To keep morale high whilst maintaining high levels of communication and good teamwork to aid the journey and camping. Also taking a survey of litter in and around the river, all displayed on video’. The assessed expedition was planned to take place in the stunning Wye Valley during last summer term, however, due to COVID restrictions, the Gold students instead completed their expedition section following amended DofE conditions labelled ‘DofE With a Difference’. Their four day expedition instead took place last autumn on the River Thames, following a route starting in Goring and finishing in Windsor. Imogen and the other Golds were collected at the end of each day and brought back to GMS to camp on the school field! It certainly was ‘DofE with a Difference’ for young people this year, but they showed the resourcefulness and resilience required to overcome any obstacles in order to achieve their Gold award. Imogen’s assessor remarked: ‘Imogen had a positive ‘can do’ attitude, becoming involved with the jobs involved when undertaking a journey of this nature. This included the less glamorous jobs including the scrubbing of many saucepans. She was also identified as the team’s poetry queen, creating a new poem for pretty much every occasion on the river. Imogen formed a key part of the team, with her prepared approach and providing many items that other individuals required/forgot/misplaced throughout the four days. I am happy that this team and Imogen have met the DofE 20 conditions and have passed the expedition section of their Gold DofE. Well done, Imogen, a great achievement.’ Unique to the Gold level of the award, the residential section requires each participant to take part in a programme that spends 5 days and 4 nights away from home on a shared activity with people that they have never met before. Imogen used her NCS placement to qualify for this criteria and completed this section at Chasewater Activity Centre in Staffordshire. Imogen worked with a group of 9 other young people, cooking together, working together and sharing a large tent to sleep in. Imogen felt that through teamwork, sharing ideas and learning life skills, she was able to build a trust with the group and even felt confident enough to engage in blindfolded rock climbing! One of her favourite experiences during her residential stay was helping at a community childcare centre. With Imogen and her group’s help, the children were able to build an impressive bug house to support the environment.

In a year of unprecedented challenges, this irrepressible young woman has shown a remarkable strength and tenacity in order to achieve the highest level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Her DofE journey began as a Year 9 student, and on 23rd March 2021 Imogen Greene reached her destination and completed her Gold award. She should be immensely proud of this achievement and can now join the millions of other young people worldwide who have benefitted from their involvement in the award and have developed the confidence, resilience, adaptability and empathy to get ahead with the next chapter in their lives.

​Helen Murray
DofE Award Manager
Great Marlow School
​01628 483752​

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