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Barrow students achieve their Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards

Two students are celebrating achieving their Gold Duke of Edinburgh at Barrow Sixth Form College.

Rachel Gleaves and Liam Edgley completed the prestigious award while doing their A levels at the Rating Lane campus.

The teenagers planned and carried out a number of expeditions in the Lake District and undertook volunteer work.

Rachel, who studied biology chemistry and maths as well as the extended project, did her bronze award while at St Bernard’s School but didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go for gold while at college.

“It is a really good opportunity and not something you can do once you’ve left sixth form,” she said. “It was very difficult and there were points where I wanted to quit but I didn’t. I started off not really knowing anyone but you get into a team and support each other.

"My highlight was getting through the expedition, just making it to the top of Scafell after a 50-mile hike was amazing. To anyone thinking about the DoE I would just say go for it.”

She received her award at Buckingham Palace from mountaineer Alan Hinkes, the only Brit to climb the highest 14 summits in the world.

Liam, who is an explorer Scout, young leader at Cubs and the National Citizen Service youth board member representing young people in Cumbria and Lancashire, achieved his award despite breaking his foot mid-way through.

“It is pretty intense and can take you out of your comfort zone but it’s well worth it and you create a lot of memories,” he said.

“One of the days we’d walked for ten hours and we still had a couple of hours left to the campsite but we found a waterfall and we spent a couple of hours swimming in the pool before nightfall, an experience I won’t forget.”

“The walk groups were all people I knew beforehand and it is such an intense four days but now I’ve finished my DoE I really miss it. It is a different sort of freedom.”

Liam, who studied four A levels in physics, maths, further maths and chemistry, will receive his award later this year after representing Cumbria in America at the World Scouts Jamboree. He takes up a role as the Student Liaison Officer at Furness College for 12 months before heading to university.

Barrow Sixth Form College, which is part of Furness College, offers the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award to help students challenge themselves, manage their time and learn skills to set them apart from the competition.

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