Honour for dedicated Boys' Brigade leader

A leader from 1st Lenzie Boys' Brigade company has been presented with a Duke of Edinburgh Long Service Award certificate after half a century of dedication to the movement.

Alastair Whitelaw was presented with the award at a special ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on July 6.

HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, gave the Royal seal of approval to Alistair as he spoke to him ahead of the ceremony.

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John Swinney, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, presented Alastair with his certificate.

Alistair, who has been Duke of Edinburgh Leader for five decades said: “Fifty years seems a long time, but it is amazing how quickly it has passed. Some would say that after 50 years, it is time to give it up, but as long as I have the strength and health to carry on, I am quite happy to do so.

“I find it very rewarding to see young lads joining the scheme at 14 - doing the bronze stage, then silver and for a fair number of them - the gold stage.

“To see them standing proudly receiving their Gold Awards, with their mums and dads, grannies and grandpas looking on, is well worth all the blood sweat and tears to help get them to that stage.”

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Alistair added: “More and more nowadays, employers are looking for more than just academic qualifications, and to see the DofE listed in their CVs tells them a lot more about the young person’s attributes.

“I have seen many young people over the years doing the award, frightened by some of the challenges they faced - but sticking at it - with the help of their friends and colleagues - and coming out at the end with their award, and a lot more self-assurance, discipline and confidence in themselves, which has stood them in good stead in later life.

“Speaking after the awards ceremony, Bill Stevenson, Director of The Boys’ Brigade in Scotland said: “I am exceptionally proud of Alistair and everything he has achieved to receive this honour. He in an inspiration to all BB members and has shown the age in no barrier to achieving success.”

The Gold Award is the highest accolade in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards programme which started in 1956. The awards were set up to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements.

Currently more than 300,000 young people participate in DofE programmes each year.