A band of Duke of Edinburgh participants at an autism charity received a special visitor at their awards ceremony.

Penrith-based Autism Charity, All About Autism (Triple A) hosted their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award presentation with guest of honour, Ray Mears presenting the group with their certificates.

The group of four young men, aged between 15-19 years old – all with a diagnosis of autism – successfully fulfilled the Bronze Award requirements after six months of completing their skills, volunteering, physical and expedition sections.

"The individual stories are truly heart-warming," said Ray.

"Presenting these awards is nerve-wracking for me because it is such a big thing for the recipients who have all made such a massive investment to get there.

"What I love about it is that you don't even have to win an award to benefit. It is like many things in life – it's the journey that's important; they are enriched by the process and enjoy the time they spend on it.

"Yes, they may get a few blisters, but they learn something about themselves that they can draw on at other times and in other circumstances. I believe that it helps to give these young adults confidence, which is a wonderful thing."

The participants committed to a wide range of physical activities including martial arts, climbing, horse-riding and football as well as life skills such as cooking and supermarket shopping.

Adrienne Gill, mother of one of the achievers, recognised the difference the award scheme made to her son Kieran, saying: "

Our son has thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. He likes to wear a medal after his weekly rock climbing session for good climbing (physical section), he wants to help with making his dinner (skills section) and really enjoyed staying awake in his first sleep in a tent during his qualifying expedition


The expedition training involved team hikes at Talkin Tarn, Castle Carrock, Bowscale Tarn, the Penrith Beacon and Great Mell Fell.

Campcraft and the two-day qualifying weekend was hosted at Troutbeck airfield and a big thanks to landowner, Roger Savage who kindly accommodated the group and provided a overview of the flood prevention work that he is carrying out with Cumbria Rivers Trust.