The Duke of Edinburgh Awards

About a month ago, I was asked to be a guest presenter at an upcoming Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award Presentation at St James’s Palace and present awards on behalf of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh. Now for me, a Gold D of E Award Holder, that was like being asked to come and fly the plane while the pilot went to the loo. Yes I was unbelievably excited but slightly scared.

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I’d actually never spoken about any of my adventures before. I know. It’s embarrassing; so many adventurers make their money through public speaking but I just kept wimping out. Put me in a storm in the ocean for 4 1/2 months and I can handle it. Ask me to speak about my adventures, well that just scares me. I knew I was going to have to get over it at some point and so an invitation to St James’s Palace was the perfect set up. I couldn’t say no and was just going to have to man up.

We arrived at the Palace and got ushered through for a tour with our personal guide who told us facts about the palace. Then there was a drinks reception with the other presenters. Picture this – Sally Gunnell, Shane Ward (that dude from X Factor), Richard Matheson Harpham from Inspired Life and another chick. Quite the gathering.

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Then we were taken into our rooms. I was speaking in the room that Will and Kate had their engagement photos taken in with the infamous fireplace. It is very red. And very gold. And I had the Welsh room with 150 children and parents.

We met the Duke of Edinburgh, had photos taken, got led around the room. And then I spoke. About collecting my award ten years ago until now. I used a lot of hand gestures but I do that anyway. And probably went quite red, which matched the room. And then I sat down. I had done it. All I had to do was hand out every certificate to the room. And I had done my first talk. I feel prepared for the ones coming later this year. And I forced myself to do something that scares me. Again. But in a palace.

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