Eighteen students at a Weymouth school overcame obstacles caused by lockdown and coronavirus to secure their silver Duke of Edinburgh badges.

Year 11 pupils at Budmouth Academy have spent up to 12 months completing their tasks and were handed their awards during a recent assembly.

All the students selected and set their own objectives, goals and aims across four different areas: volunteering, physical, skills and expedition.

Geography teacher Sam Temple, the DofE co-ordinator at Budmouth Academy, said the dedication and commitment shown by the students is all the more remarkable this year given the obstacles they encountered.

“The students had to change their activities,” she told the Dorset Echo. “Many had chosen to volunteer at clubs or their physical activities were with clubs. Once lockdown set in, they switched their volunteering to helping their neighbours with shopping and completed different physical tasks. There has been more of a community spirit to their tasks and they have gotten to know their neighbours. The last few months have been a great lesson in resilience, they’ve had to look for alternative solutions and it has been character building.”

Student Josh Gregory, 15, originally volunteered with the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) but switched to helping his neighbours during lockdown. He said: “I’m proud of the volunteer work I did to help people in my local community. I worked with lots of different people and it improved my confidence being able to approach people as I was a little bit shy before. I feel really happy to have achieved my silver Duke of Edinburgh and the next goal is to do my Gold Duke of Edinburgh.”

All the students completed the expedition segment of their silver award scheme through a stay in the New Forest prior to lockdown.

Rebecca Baker, 15, said: “Walking through the New Forest was an experience. It was great to spend time with my friends and also get to know new people. I also liked the camping part in the New Forest. We had a campsite with marshmallows and S’mores. It’s one of those things that it’s an experience that you’ll never get as you get older. You learn so much from it. You’re in the wildlife and in the countryside and you see things and experience things with your friends and have a laugh with your friends. I’m definitely going to go on to do my Gold.”