Duke of Edinburgh
NMC Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award Expedition by Lorraine Woolley
On 4th October 2021 the fantastic ‘NMC DofE’ team embarked on their qualifying Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Award Expedition. Originally set for 2020, the expedition was postponed several times due to the pandemic. Our team were determined to complete their awards in 2021 and were more than ready for the challenge, throwing themselves in with admirable energy and enthusiasm.
Upon arrival at the Bendrigg trust, the first job was to make their beds and unpack. Any tasks they were unable to do for themselves were carried out by NMC staff and PAs accompanying our cohort, under clear instructions from our participants to enable as much independence as possible. Once everyone was settled, our instructor Jenny Brindle from The Bendrigg Trust held a meeting with our participants to devise a route for the walking part of the Expedition and to have an orienteering session. The team worked together to find a suitable area that would be challenging, yet safe enough to complete. We then went orienteering which was pretty cold, wet and rugged – the ideal preparation for what was to come.
Our 2nd day plans needed changing due to adverse weather conditions. This proved to be a great opportunity to undertake rock climbing, something that many of our participants wanted to try but were quite apprehensive of. Every single member of the team scaled the wall, putting their complete trust in the Bendrigg Team to enable them to achieve this confidence building exercise. They were winched up, wheelchair and all! One of our participants, Amy Gittins, who uses a manual wheelchair decided not to take the lift back down. Instead, after a quick breather she climbed back down! Every single member of the team completed this and really did themselves and the NMC proud! They proved that no challenge is too great when you have the support you need to do it! On returning to the accommodation, everybody prepared and cooked their evening meal outdoors. This all had to be done under the instruction of participants from cooking to washing up!
Day three arrived, and we were amazed (and relieved) to see glorious sunshine, which provided the perfect setting for canoeing on Lake Windermere. Our team rose early, had breakfast and off they went to start their Qualifying Expedition. The Bendrigg Trust, NMC staff and PAs got everybody into the canoes with military precision! The route had already been set, lunch was packed and everybody was ready to learn and enjoy this amazing new experience.
They canoed for many hours on the Lake, taking in the beautiful surroundings. Those that couldn’t use the conventional ores had mini hand ores that they dipped into the water to help out with the rowing, so everyone gained the real experience.
After an exhausting day on the water our team got straight back to the accommodation and cooked their own evening meal outdoors on stoves. As you can imagine, they were tired and pretty cold by then but the wonderful Josh and Jake decided they were going to go the whole hog and camp out in a magnificent tepee tent. It had a log burning fire and all the equipment needed to make it happen. They used mobile hoists and mattresses, accompanied by great determination to make this possible. Josh had never camped before and was driven to do it despite a really challenging day. Jake did a sterling job of helping to make this happen by supporting his fellow team member alongside Josh’s PA to get him on the mattress and wrapped up for the night. This was teamwork at its upmost, which is what Duke of Edinburgh is all about.
On the final day, the classic Lake District weather provided our team with the ultimate challenge of a 5 mile hike in torrential rain with a Windermere Ferry crossing in the mix and soggy sandwiches under a tarpaulin cover! There wasn’t a single grumble and everybody got on with it with true NMC ‘can do’ spirit. The route was planned meticulously to accommodate wheelchair capability, with a varied terrain to give everybody the experience of an expedition. Everybody was prepared for the weather and unrecognisable under their rain proof covers! They powered through the route in wind and rain to join the Windermere Ferry that was built into their route. When they reached the other side, they had to complete the final leg which they did with flying colours.
They completed a difficult journey and really tested themselves to see what could be achieved. Everybody worked so hard to complete it and this was done with true determination. Duke of Edinburgh is all about being independent and going on a journey of self-discovery and capability. I think the whole team realised that they are capable of doing anything after overcoming every obstacle that came their way. They learnt that barriers are there to be knocked down and in the face of adversity you can do anything you want if you put your mind to it.
We are extremely proud of TeamNMC DofE!
Dominic Morgan Achieves His Bronze Award
Dom is the first person to achieve this prestigious award through the NMC DofE scheme.
It's a tough challenge for anyone, and we are all in complete awe of Dom's achievement. The award ceremony on 26th February was a proud evening for Dom, his parents, his fellow DofE team members and our whole charity. Several hundred people heard about Dom's achievements and gave a huge round of applause when he went up to collect his certificate. Some said it wasn't possible. Dom has proved ANYTHING is possible. It's all about what you can do. It's much more about abilities than disabilities.
Enormous congratulations to Dom from all us at NMC!
Click here for full details of Dom's amazing achievement, the successful team expedition to the Lake District with our group of ambitious young people and the fantastic skills they have gained.