FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A pair of Peace region residents met Prince Edward earlier this year after receiving awards relating to the Duke of Edinburgh program.
The program is used by many organizations that work with youth aged 14 to 24 to earn the bronze, silver and gold awards.
Cheyenne Radcliffe, a former Fort St. John resident, received the gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
“I mainly did it because it was promised that if I get gold, I can meet a member of the Royal family,” Radcliffe said.
Radcliffe is now 29 but completed the award when she was under 25. She wanted to meet a member of the royal family, but due to the pandemic and other world events, she was unable to travel, so she waited to receive her award.
A list of requirements and documentation needs to be submitted to qualify for each level of the award. Some of the requirements include community service, physical recreation and skill improvement.
She said everyone receiving an award in Vancouver was in a separate room away from the public to receive the award and meet the Prince.
The Lieutenant Governor of B.C. and the commissioner of the Yukon gave them their awards and congratulated them before Prince Edward came into the room.
Prince Edward talked with everyone and asked each participant about their experience with the program, Radcliffe said.
Radcliffe and her Duke of Edinburgh award leader, Carla Lowther, said he was down to earth.
“It was really awesome. He was actually really laid back, pretty chill,” Radcliffe said.
“It was nice to actually be in the presence of a royal.”
Lowther also received an award for being a leader of the program for 25 years, and she said when she was standing there, she realized it had been about 30 years in February since she received her gold Duke of Edinburgh award from the Prince in Edmonton.
“He’s just so personable, and he did the award himself,” Lowther said.
After meeting the Prince, they returned to the room where the rest of the guests were to listen to speeches from the lieutenant governor, the commissioner and Prince Edward.
Lowther says Prince Edward spent an hour afterward walking around the room talking to people, including past gold award recipients.
“He just mingled and chatted and congratulated people,” Lowther said.
When she received her award three decades ago, it was much more formal, and everyone had to pay a decent amount of money to attend the supper afterwards, but now, the event is free and much more relaxed.
As a Duke of Edinburgh Award leader, she has helped many people through the program.
“I’ve had lots of kids go through the program in Nova Scotia and here that have completed their bronze. I’ve had several do their silver, but Cheyenne’s my only gold,” Lowther explained.
Both women say the Duke of Edinburgh Award is an excellent program for youth to get involved in.
In addition to the skills learned and the impact on the community, earning each of the awards can earn students credits toward grades 10, 11 and 12, depending on which level they complete.
For more information on the Duke of Edinburgh Award, visit the website.