On Thursday 22 September 2016 His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, KG, visited the Channel Island of Alderney.

This was part of a tour to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award scheme. The Year 8 and 9 students of St Anne’s School demonstrated their lifesaving skills, which they have been working on for their Survive and Save Beach Awards. The students use elements of their Lifesaving to help them to achieve their Duke of Edinburgh Awards through the physical and skills elements.

HRH watched from above as the helicopter hovered directly above the students in a truly exhilarating display. He then walked down to Braye Beach escorted by the school Duke of Edinburgh co-ordinator Mr Martyn Brown, where he was able to watch as a range of land based rescues and tows were being performed. With two blasts of the whistle the students ran out of the water and arranged themselves between the flags as they would in event of an emergency. HRH was introduced to Mrs Angela Etheredge swimming co-ordinator and RLSS UK Trainer Assessor who was able to explain more about what the students were doing. The other staff who are also trained on the tiny 3 miles long island, were also introduced. Then HRH spoke to some of the students who are currently working towards their Bronze levels in both DofE and Survive and Save Beach. HRH explained about his experience of Bronze Medallion Heritage, in his PJs. HRH was asked if this was the first time he had watched a sea swimming lesson, and he responded yes it was. This delighted both the staff and the students, who without a pool on the island, learn to swim in the sea (from 6 years old) and progress on to achieve high levels in Lifesaving.

Next the Royal visitor was introduced to a group of four young people aged 14-16 who are working towards their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award  and their Silver Survive and Save Beach Award. They spoke about their experiences of both awards and how perfectly the two awards are working together in our school. They escorted HRH back a short five minute walk to the school and introduced their peers, 4-16 years, as the whole school group waited to greet him. He met a previous student who as well as Lifesaving had achieved Bronze, Silver and Gold Level Dof E and then gone on to train and assess D of E groups. After a planting a tree in the new school garden and being presented with locally made butter he returned to the Braye Common by the beach where he was greeted by the Lifesavers in a Guard of Honour, wearing their RLSS UK swimming hats. Everyone waved goodbye and celebrated a successful day of joyous, purposeful outdoor learning with all participants working co-operatively to support and inspire each other, a perfect Duke of Edinburgh and RLSS UK combination.

Angela Etheredge