From Duke Of Edinburgh Scheme to Lifeboat Coxswain
One of the lasting legacies left by Prince Philip is of course, his Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.
Among the many thousands of men and women achieving the awards as young people, and setting themselves off of a path to success as a result, was Holyhead RNLI coxswain, Tony Price.
Tony achieved the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, one of several young people from Holyhead Sea Cadets to do so. They were invited to a ceremony in London’s St. James’ Palace. In fact, the only others receiving awards on the day were the duke’s own son Prince Edward, some of his private school friends, and an African prince!
As Prince Philip came from a naval background, he was very impressed with the sea cadets, and in particular with the fact they were three-time National Canada Trophy winners to be the best sea cadets in the British Isles, which no other unit had ever achieved.
As part of his gold award, Tony had a role in teaching disabled children to sail in Holyhead Harbour, something he says was not only fulfilling and enjoyable, but taught him so much that he would use in later life, eventually resulting in him becoming coxswain of Holyhead Lifeboat Station after a career at sea.
‘I realised then, through both the sea cadets and the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, how important it was to work as a team, support others and learn together,’ he said.
‘The whole scheme was fantastic; so well run - a real credit to the Duke of Edinburgh and everyone that was involved. It certainly gave me many skills, from meeting and working with others from all over the country and the world; being self-sufficient, and testing my inner strength. Spending seven nights away, completing every main mountain within the Snowdonia range; supporting each other out in the mountains. This was all done by the age of 16. It really was quite something. It just goes to show, with the right start in life, you can achieve anything.'
'The one thing I learned from then, that I've carried through life and to my role now, is that you have to work with the weakest member to bring them through, and build on that to make a strong team.'
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.