Five young DofE Award holders from London to play key role at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Service of Thanksgiving


Five Gold DofE Award holders from London will play a central role in today’s Service of Thanksgiving for the life of The Duke of Edinburgh, as the DofE celebrates the
impact his legacy has had on millions of young people’s lives.

Felix Daglish, 20, Meryem James, 22, George Fisher, 21, Joel Chilaka, 24, and Rajan Modha, 27, will attend the service at Westminster Abbey and line the Abbey
steps as guests arrive. All four young people have achieved all three DofE Award levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Felix, from Wandsworth, is a 2021/22 DofE Youth Ambassador, helping to shape the future of the charity and speak out on issues that matter to him. He is passionate
about sharing the message that the DofE can be life-changing, and that young people with a physical impairment or disability can benefit enormously from taking part.

Achieving his Gold DofE gave Felix the confidence to row across the Irish Sea on an expedition with his father – and he also has plans to cycle from John O’Groats
to Land’s End.

Felix said: “My DofE has given me independence and freedom, made me comfortable trying new things by putting me in frankly uncomfortable situations, and given me the confidence to pursue adventures and take on challenges. In short, it’s helped me get more out of life.

“When I started my Bronze at 14, I never expected to find myself at Westminster Abbey on such a special day. I’m so glad to be able to play a small part in
the service and celebrate everything The Duke did to support young people.”

Rajan, from Harrow, achieved his Gold in 2017.

Rajan said: “My DofE taught me resilience,
and never to give up, which is why I now speak to other young people to encourage them to do their DofE – it’s a life-changing experience. It’s such an honour to be able to be at the Abbey today and celebrate the impact The Duke’s legacy had on so many young
people, including me.”

George, from Sidcup, volunteered with children and young people and adults with disabilities for his DofE Volunteering section and continues his involvement with the DofE today as a volunteer Expedition Assessor.

George said:
“As a teenager, I really struggled to control my anger. My DofE gave me a purpose, something to focus my time and energy on, and gave me
teamwork and organisational skills too. I’m delighted to be here today with other Award holders, to reflect the difference The Duke’s legacy, the DofE, has made.”

Joel from London has achieved his Gold. He is now a junior doctor and credits the DofE with giving him personal development and growth opportunities.

Joel said: “My DofE has had a huge
impact on my life. Whenever things get tough or I consider giving up, I motivate myself with the knowledge that having survived hours wading through chest-high marshland, everything else is a doddle.

“It’s a real honour to be able to play a role in such a special event and to celebrate the difference The Duke made to so many young people’s lives by founding
the DofE.”

Ruth Marvel, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: “Today is an opportunity to celebrate The Duke’s incredible legacy and his vision in creating the DofE charity which has helped generations of young people develop the skills, resilience and self-belief they need to thrive, whatever life throws at them. “The Duke founded the DofE because he knew that, with the right opportunities, young people’s potential is limitless. Six decades on, the hundreds of thousands of young people doing their DofE continue to prove him right every day – discovering new talents and making a positive difference in communities all over the UK.”

The Duke’s ambition when he founded the DofE in 1956 was to enrich young people’s lives. Since then, millions of young people in the UK and around the world have done their DofE – discovering new passions and vital skills, building their confidence, resilience, and self-belief, making a positive difference in their communities, and having life-changing experiences.

And a year on from The Duke’s death – as young people navigate the challenges created by the pandemic – the DofE is needed more than ever.

A living legacy

After The Duke of Edinburgh’s death last April, the DofE charity launched the Living Legacy Fund in his memory to support its aim to reach a million young people by 2026.
That work is well under way, with a focus on reaching those who face barriers to taking part, such as young people with special needs, who live in deprived areas or who are in prison.

Among other things, in the last 12 months the DofE has:

developed a new Youth Ambassador programme to put young people at the heart of its work.

started ambitious projects to reach the most marginalised young people, by supporting more youth organisations in the UK’s most deprived
areas and up to 291 schools in the most deprived parts of England to run the DofE

expanded the DofE in prisons and young offender institutions

begun a national project to support more young people with additional needs to start their DofE.

The pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on young people’s lives across the UK – affecting their job opportunities, mental health, education and hobbies. Marginalised
young people have been hardest hit.

The DofE can empower young people to discover new passions, equip them with vital life skills and build their confidence and self-belief, so they’re ready to take on life’s
challenges and fulfil their potential. It is open to all young people, whatever their background, interest or abilities – with every DofE programme built by, and unique to, the young person themself.