A TEACHER from Kidderminster was a VIP guest at an award ceremony for the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Gold Award at St James’ Palace.

Ron Jackson, a geography teacher at Holy Trinity School, was given an award by Prince Edward for his long service and dedicated support to helping young people.

He has spent the past 35 years volunteering with young people to help them achieve their DofE awards, both in Worcestershire and Dudley.

Mr Jackson said: “There are only a small number of people who are invited as VIPs to the palace, so to be chosen was great - it came out of the blue.

“I’m involved in all levels of the award, bronze, silver and gold, and being a geography teacher I love getting involved in expeditions.”

There were several young people who attended the special ceremony to receive their DofE Gold Award who Mr Jackson had trained.

To complete their Gold Award, participants had to spend 12 months volunteering and 18 months taking part in a physical activity and practising a skill.

They also had to plan, train for and undertake a four-day overnight expedition and carry out a separate residential activity spending four nights away from home.

Jules Isaacs-Garfield, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award co-ordinator for Worcestershire, said: “Going to St James’ Palace and meeting the Duke of Edinburgh is a tremendous honour and a very fitting finale for these young people, who have worked so hard to achieve their Gold Award.”

In addition to Mr Jackson, Guy Rogers of Worcestershire Award Leaders Forum was also chosen as a VIP guest.