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Abbotsholme Father and Daughter both receive Duke of Edinburgh certificates at The Palace

Published Wednesday 2nd of March 2016 04:43:03 PM

Pupil Tara Witcomb aged 18 and staff member Alan Witcomb, both received certificates for Duke of Edinburgh achievements at St James Palace from HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at a recent award ceremony. Both from Rocester, Staffordshire, Tara is the youngest person at Abbotsholme to receive the Gold Duke of Edinburgh award at seventeen years and four months and usually pupils only receive this award after finishing their education at Abbotsholme. Alan Witcomb, who has been at Abbotsholme as a boarding parent and member of the OEd staff, received his 10 year service award. This then allowed both Jade (Tara’s twin sister) and Anne Witcomb to accompany them as guests and make it a family occasion. Tara spent five days at Blackpool Zoo as part of her residential section because she loves animals and it was a challenge to arrange and get to the location making the whole residential part an adventure in itself. She she spent her expedition canoeing on the Caledonian Canal, managing to sail across Loch Ness with a makeshift sail, and volunteered on the School farm, covering early morning feeds and lambing duties. Tara received her award in the Picture Gallery, one of the four State rooms used for the presentations and each room had a dignitary to present the certificates; Tara's was awarded by Mr Jon Culshaw the impressionist, comedian, and Radio 4 presenter. Tara was asked by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh (in a room where you could hear a pin drop), what her service had entailed. Tara feeling slightly under pressure quickly said "I worked on the school farm where I fed cow’s milk". Prince Phillip chuckled and said "Really! Out of one then and into another". Tara laughed, but quickly corrected her mistake! Prince Phillip was then introduced to Alan Witcomb and two other volunteers who were receiving service awards, and he asked them about their involvement in the award, before they were presented with their service certificates. Tara said of her award, “I am proud to have completed the Gold Award, and it was amazing to receive the award with my whole family present making it a very special day.” "I have been at Abbotsholme for 10 years now, and in that time I have been extremely fortunate. There is such a variety of experiences available here, your only problem is prioritizing.” Tara continued, “I have tried to make the most of the opportunities here including; Fundraising through Round Square and attending International conferences, setting up a business through Young Enterprise, singing in the Pop Choir, taking part in two Adventure Race challenges, working on the Farm and representing the school in all Sports.” Tara met up with Alex Christie OA’14 who was also collecting his Gold award.
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