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His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex unveiled a plaque to commemorate the start of Trent College’s 150th anniversary celebrations as he met students and staff, past and present, during his visit yesterday.
Opened in 1868, Trent formally marks its 150th year this academic year, and Prince Edward was met by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, Mr William Tucker, before being escorted on a tour of campus by Mr Penty.
A long-time Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Trustee and himself a Gold Award holder, Prince Edward observed students taking part in a number of DofE and team building activities, before officially opening the school's new Food and Nutrition Suite.
Year 12 student, Anna Goddard, was one of the DofE students Prince Edward spoke to after taking part in a First Aid demonstration. She said: “He asked me about what I was doing for each section of my DofE and was interested in the volunteering I’m doing for it as a Brownie unit leader at 2nd Aston and Weston Brownies. He was lovely to chat to."
Lawrence Ellis, who is in Year 13, also enjoyed a conversation with the Prince as he enquired about his Gold Award expedition last summer. He added: “He was really relaxed and wanted to know about our expedition experiences and if we got lost! He also said he would see us at St James’ Palace when he presents us with our Gold Awards, so that’s something to look forward to."
Meanwhile Nathaniel Moyo, who is in Year 3 at The Elms, said, “I can’t believe I met a Prince, I feel like fainting!"
This year no fewer than 135 of our students are expected to complete their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards across the three levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold. DofE is an integral part of school life for its role in promoting the life skills and character strengths young people need to flourish in the fast-changing, competitive world in which they are growing up.
Mr Chris Rawles, Co-ordinator of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Expeditions, said: “Many desirable life skills, such as team work, problem solving, resilience, determination, communication, leadership and confidence, are embedded through taking part in the DofE activities.
“There is a lot of research on the positive outcomes of outdoor education on wellbeing. Confidence is a key factor in positive mental health in young people, while the feel-good factor from learning new things, achieving and making a positive difference can be significant too. This is why DofE Awards are still so relevant.”
Trent first opened its doors in April 1868, with just 53 male students. Since then our school has grown to become one of the top co-educational independent schools in the region and home to more than 1,300 students. Prince Edward’s visit was the first of a number of celebration events that will be taking place over the next 12 months.
Amongst the guests also introduced to His Royal Highness were the Mayor of Erewash, Councillor Mrs. Mary Hopkinson, Erewash MP, Mrs Maggie Throup, Mr Andrew Crompton, Chair of Governor, and the school’s Governors.
Mr Penty said: “It is a great honour to have welcomed His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex to Trent College to launch our 150th anniversary celebrations. He’s a man after my own heart; he took a real interest in our students and you could only be inspired by that.
“It was a pleasure to see so many students, staff and friends of the school at this landmark event. Over the years, so many people have helped shape the school to become what it is today; an inspiring learning environment where academic, physical and creative achievements are made possible and celebrated.”