FIVE Woking Explorer Scouts have achieved both the Queen’s Scout and Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards.

Amy Butcher, Owen Parsley, Yousuf Mahmood, Oliver Faulkner and Tom Wittke were presented with their Queen’s Scout Awards by Trisha Griffin, the Deputy County Commissioner for Surrey, at a ceremony at St John’s Church.

They are among approximately 300 young people in the UK, aged 17 to 24, who will have achieved the award this year. All the award winners have been invited to the annual St George’s Parade at Windsor Castle in April next year.

The activities they undertook included a 100-kilometre, four-day expedition on Dartmoor in August last year in changeable weather.

A major requirement for the award had the Scouts learning about various religions, such as Buddhism and Christian festivals.

They also completed a wide variety of other activities of their choice, such as playing football for Sheerwater FC,  ballroom dancing, learning a musical instrument, writing reports for Woking Football Club and training with Woking and Horsell Cricket Club. Yousuf took part in multi sports and fitness skills.

For their five-day residential section, Amy assisted keepers at Dartmoor Zoo, Tom took part in the National Citizen Service at Surrey University covering the environment and conservation, and Owen gained first aid and lifesaving qualifications at Corfe in Dorset.

For the international section, the Scouts ran numerous events at their unit meetings on international menus and games. In 2019, Oliver joined hundreds of Scouts from across the world at the international scout centre in Switzerland.

Shahid Azeem, a Surrey Deputy Lieutenant, presented the Scouts with their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award badges and they all will be invited to St James’s Palace this year to receive their certificates.

Brian Pinto, the Explorer Scout Commissioner for Woking, said: “To gain these awards, the young people have to show extremely high standards, motivation, self-discipline, leadership and commitment, as well as community service, while building their self-confidence and having fun.

“The last 18 months have been very difficult for all young people working towards these awards. Restrictions meant that some activities had to be done alone and in isolation, and most had to think outside the box to continue achieving their goals.”