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Grandfather inspires golden challenge

Gold award recipient Alec Boaden with his grandfather, Mr Tony Miller, who was one of the first to achieve a gold Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award
Gold award recipient Alec Boaden with his grandfather, Mr Tony Miller, who was one of the first to achieve a gold Duke Of Edinburgh’s Award

A student at the Minster School, Southwell, who has achieved his gold Duke of Edinburgh award was inspired by his grandfather, one of the first recipients of the award almost 60 years ago.

Alec Boaden, 18, was one of 12 gold award winners at the school.

His grandfather, Mr Tony Miller, 77, was at the presentation evening and said it was a wonderful occasion.

Mr Miller was among the first young people to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, which was started by Prince Philip in 1956.

He worked his way through the bronze, silver and finally gold levels with the Boys’ Brigade in Nottingham.

Mr Miller said it had been a great scheme that had gave him opportunities that would otherwise have been beyond his grasp.

For his community service section he spent time with the fire brigade and for his skill challenge he chose music and played the bugle and the saxophone.

For the expedition element Mr Miller was part of a crew on an old lifeboat, which took them from the River Trent at Meadow Lane to the Humber Estuary and back again.

When he achieved his gold, Mr Miller and three others went to Buckingham Palace to receive their award from Prince Philip in 1960

“I remember taking my mum and dad,” he said. “It was a day I will never forget.”

'Inspired by my granddad'

Mr Miller said the award helped throughout his life.

“It gave me the experience to work as a team and develop friendships,” he said.

Alec said he had signed up to start the award when he was 13.

“I was mainly inspired by my granddad, who wanted to see me gain something he had achieved,” he said.

For his gold, Alec volunteered at a Methodist Church in Nottingham, working alongside people with mental disabilities; for his skill he attended drama sessions at the Television Workshop; and for the physical section he learn how to climb.

He took part in a 140-mile coast-to-coast bike ride for the cxpedition challenge.

“I was determined to do it for my granddad and it is great to know we have achieved the same award,” Alec said.

“I feel very proud and I know he is too.”

Alec is due to attend an official presentation of his award at St James Palace, London, towards the end of the year.

He is allowed one guest and will be taking his grandfather

“It made perfect sense that it would be my granddad who would go with me,” he said.

The presentations at the Minster School were made by former England international rugby player Simon Hodgkinson with addresses by the school’s head, Mr Matthew Parris, and the chairman of Southwell Town Council, Mr Andy Gregory.

The 50 volunteers who help with the scheme were thanked for their time.

A total of 90 bronze, 48 silver and 12 gold awards were presented.

The other gold award winners were Ella Annable, Ashley Bailey, Fern Clarke, George Ford, Joseph Gittins, Sophie Hill, Behram Khan, John Mikhail, James Pritchett, Jennifer Ritson and Annie Mae Wright.


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