A record number of students from Budmouth Academy have achieved the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

However their trip to Buckingham Palace in May to collect their awards has now been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Ben Robertson, Thomas Hodges, Rudy Sawtell, Ellie Rose, Louie James, Brodie Asker, Jodie Stone and Meg Lydford, are the eight students from the Weymouth school who have managed the impressive achievement and it is the first time such a large group has done so.

The presentation was due to take place in the palace gardens on May 21st.

However the Queen has been advised to cancel her annual garden parties in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus and the event will now take place in 2021.


Geography teacher Sam Temple is the DofE co-ordinator at Budmouth Academy and has held the post since 2007 when she joined.

In the years that have since passed, 406 awards have been approved for students at the school across the board from Bronze, Silver to Gold.

The awards take up to 12 months to achieve which requires dedication and commitment from the students.

They select and set their own objectives, goals and aims across five different areas; volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and a residential section for the Gold award.

For the Budmouth students, the expedition was four days in Dartmoor during July.

Mrs Temple said the DofE award has risen in popularity at Budmouth Academy because many students now understand its value in helping to boost their CV and making them an attractive prospect to universities or employers.

She told the Dorset Echo: ‘’It’s an award that employers have heard of and it’s an internationally recognised award and it makes them stand out.

‘’It also gives them something to talk about whether that’s for job interviews or a place at university.’’

She added the ‘’school is very proud of them and the mums will be looking forward to going to the palace and wearing a hat!’’

Student Louie James, 18, is planning to study Economics at Bath University. Having completed Bronze and Silver and keen to have the full set of DofE awards, Louie embarked on completing the Gold.

He completed his residential in Ecuador with the Dorset Expeditionary Society spending four nights in the Amazon jungle and two weeks cycling and trekking up and around mountains close to Quito.

Louie said: ‘’I feel very proud of myself. I did the Bronze and Silver [DofE] and I just wanted to do all three.

‘’Once I start something I like to complete it. I have definitely been pushed out of my comfort zone and I’ve learnt that if you want to achieve something you have to work for it.

‘’I enjoyed it all and I’m looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace. I do like the Queen – she’s someone to look up to and I’ll be taking my mum, it’s definitely the highlight for her!’’