This article was written by Alice Gleeson who finished her studies at Notre Dame this summer. She is photographed with her sister, Maisie Gleeson, who is a former pupil and currently studying at the University of Bristol, alongside Miss Nicholls and Mr Pickup.
"After completing my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh I was keen to continue with the scheme when school offered me the opportunity. I continued the activities I’d done for each section of my Bronze award into Gold, volunteering at Rainbows for my volunteering section, doing Irish Dancing for my physical, and Lifesaving for my skill. The residential for the Gold award added an extra dynamic that wasn’t necessary for Bronze. It was difficult to find an appropriate residential that I could count and fit into my summer. I was able to do this section through Girl Guiding where I joined a patrol of seven other girls on a trip to the Netherlands where we camped for nearly two weeks with other Guides and Scouts from across Europe. We worked with them on community projects. By far the hardest part of the Gold process for me was the expedition, although I enjoyed this at Bronze the prospect of four days of wild camping in Scotland was incredibly daunting. The expedition, however, although it did have many of the downs anticipated (strains in group dynamic and general exhaustion after four days walking with only each other as company), was a satisfying experience overall. After all the hard work, in May I was invited to Buckingham Palace Gardens for my presentation. The event was an amazing day exploring the gardens, and being presented my certificate by our group celebrity, Erin Boag, a professional from Strictly. We then were able to meet Princess Beatrice who chatted to everyone in the group, with Mr Pickup and Miss Nicholls also invited. The day was definitely worth all the downs of the expedition!"