William gets gold!

Old Elizabethan William Forrester has been presented with his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award at Buckingham Palace.

During the ceremony, William (OE 2009–2016) took the opportunity to share his experiences of fulfilling the demanding requirements of the award with the Earl of Wessex, who is a trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. The presenter at the palace was British Army Officer David Love, a Staff Officer with the Royal Military Police and an expedition co-ordinator for both the military and for the D of E scheme.

""To achieve gold, William was required to volunteer for 12 months, learn a skill over six months and participate in a fitness activity for 12 months, as well as taking part in a week-long residential course and planning and undertaking an expedition in wild country.

For fitness, William turned to his longstanding passion for Ju-Jitsu – in 2013, he was named the U16 British Champion in both Grappling and Takedown in the sport’s Ishin Ryu (One Heart/Mind School). He fulfilled the volunteering requirement by teaching Ju-Jitsu to 4-11 year-olds. For the six-month skill requirement, he concentrated on the piano.

He completed the residential week on the Isle of Arran, where the focus was on conservation work. After a four-day practice expedition in the Peak District, he and his fellow award candidates headed off to the Brecon Beacons, where they had to battle through horrendous weather: it was very cold and, in addition, it rained non-stop for four days, which made both navigation and communicating with team mates almost impossible.

""Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My congratulations go to William on receiving the Gold Award: I know that it was a proud day both for him and his parents. He certainly made his mark as a pupil at the School and this award reflects his characteristic determination, resilience and commitment in pursuit of a goal.”

William is now reading for a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at Sheffield.

His interest in engineering took wing while he was at QE. In Year 9, William and a classmate, Ollie Chick, set up an engineering club for his year. In Year 12, he spent three days at a summer school on aerospace engineering organised by the educational charity, The Smallpeice Trust.

Also during his time in the Sixth Form, he was part of an award-winning team of four formed under the Engineering Development Scheme’s Engineering Education Scheme. The team’s solution to the problem of dust particle inhalation on construction sites – a water-fed broom – won the South East Regional Final of the Constructing Excellence 2015 competition. They then progressed to the national finals, where they were the only school team and were up against professionals. As part of the national final requirements, the QE pupils gave very well received presentations to two meetings of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), the world’s largest occupational health & safety organisation. Their invention even attracted the attention of household products company, Vileda, which wanted to create a prototype product.

""William maintains close links with the School and is currently an invigilator at QE during his university vacations. His father, Peter, accompanied William to Buckingham Palace, and his mother, Karen, met them both for lunch after the ceremony. Mr and Mrs Forrester have been longtime stalwarts of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s.