Despite today’s gloomy drizzle there was an enthusiastic welcome from pupils at Stanwell School today for a visit by Prince Edward, Earl of Essex.
The royal visitor was in Penarth to present certificates to seven local schools – including Stanwell – all or which are now qualified to run Duke of Edinburgh Ward Schemes in place of the Vale of Glamorgan council
At the entrance to the school Prince Edward met the Mayor of the Vale of Glamorgan Cllr Stuart Egan and was introduced to the members of the school staff
Hundreds of exciting Stanwell pupils waving Red Dragons and Union Jacks braved constant drizzle and lined up in the school yard to welcome the prince to the school .
Prince Edward then walked out into the playground to receive a spontaneously warm welcome from the several hundred flag-waving schoolchildren who seemed genuinely pleased and excited to have a royal visitor at the school – and showed it.
The prince, stopped to chat with many of the children thronging the school yard and was eager to find out about their sports hobbies and their extra-curricular activities .
He found that several pupils were participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. More than 500 Stanwell pupils take part in the scheme every year.
One young student and her friends told him about their enthusiasm for netball
After the running the gauntlet of a overwhelmingly friendly, lively and very good-hearted crowd of young students, Prince Edward – dressed casually in and slacks and a zip-necked Duke of Edinburgh Award official fleece – was escorted indoors where a school choir was performing music from “The Lion King”
After the musical interval the prince was taken to the gymnasium to see practical team-building demonstrations of some of the smaller-scale activities which form part of the DoE scheme in Stanwell, in addition to the better-known challenging hikes and physical endeavours.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is celebrating its 60th year this year.
Some groups were exercising with hoops – others manipulating ropes whilst blindfolded – whilst some students participated in what looked like an army officer-selection problem-solving exercise involving lengths of guttering and tennis balls. Everyone was having a whale of a time,
Prince Edward tried his hand at a couple of the activities himself – including one called a “drawing shapes face-energiser ” group-sketching exercise in which each member of the group – in turn – draws-in some features of a live subject before handing the clipboard to the next participant. The result was certainly a unique one-off for some possible future Antiques Road Show.
The serious business of the day however was the formal certificate-awarding session in the sixth form common room in which the prince met representatives of the seven schools in the Vale of Glamorgan – including Stanwell , St Cyres, Ysgol y Deri, and Ysgol Pen y Garth in Penarth – which are now fully-certificated to run the Duke of Edinburgh scheme in place of the Vale Council.
Here they are with their certificates :-
And from the Prince there was a final word of thanks to the young Stanwell School harpist Huw Bouchard who had been accompanying the ceremony throughout