SIX former Portfield pupils can call themselves Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award holders after successfully completing the demanding awards programme for young people.

Emyr, Harry, Sam, Kerry-Anne, Felix and Jordan have completed the challenge of the DofE Gold award.

Although pupils from the school regularly complete the Bronze and Silver levels, this is the first time in more than 20 years that a group has completed the Gold award.

Jane Richards, Duke of Edinburgh’s award co-ordinator at Portfield School, said the young people had worked extremely hard to achieve their Gold.

“DofE is very close to my heart and I wouldn’t want it to be altered,” she said. “All pupils were pushed to the extreme and there were no easy options!”

As part of the Gold award, the participants had to complete four sections – voluntary, skills, physical, and residential – as well as undertake a four-night, three-day expedition.

Their volunteering activities – which they organised themselves - included working with a community cafe, youth clubs, riding for the disabled, and becoming a Scout Leader, and their skills section included cookery, art and learning Welsh.

Physical activities included archery and horse-riding, while their residential stay took place at Red Ridge Centre in mid-Wales where they took part in rock climbing, caving and abseiling.

The expedition involved setting up camp near St Davids and completing an exploration of the Pembrokeshire coast through sea kayaking, coasteering and canoeing, facilitated by TYF.

Jane said the group, who were aged 16 and 17 when they started the award, had grown in confidence, self-esteem and sense of adventure over the two years of the programme.

“They will be coming back from their various colleges to Portfield School at Christmas to talk to the pupils at assembly about their experiences and hopefully inspire others,” she said.