OVER 200 young people from across North Ayrshire gathered at St Matthew’s Academy to receive their bronze, silver or gold Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) awards.

Participants from open award groups based in Irvine and the Three Towns, as well as school groups from Greenwood, Irvine Royal, Garnock, St Matthew’s, Ardrossan and Auchenharvie academies collected their certificates for successfully completing one of the DofE programmes.

To achieve their award, the youngsters have undertaken a range of activities in the categories of physical, volunteering, expedition and skills.

At the presentation evening, participants from Greenwood, Auchenharvie and Ardrossan academy groups shared their DofE journey via film, photographs, music and speaking to the packed hall.

As well as celebrating the achievements of the DofE award holders, the night also played host to Ramsay Pettigrew Award for Outstanding Commitment.

Kieran Fletcher from Stevenston, pictured right, was announced as the winner of this prestigious award which was presented to him by Barry Fisher, director of DofE Scotland.

DofE leader at Auchenharvie Academy, Norrie Brown, said: “When Kieran started his DofE journey four years ago he was very shy and lacking in confidence.

“However, over time he began to open up, building relationships with his peers and staff. “When he progressed onto his gold DofE award, he became the shining light of the group and flourished into a great role model for the younger children.

“He is a great example of how beneficial the DofE programme is and he should be extremely proud of what he has achieved – we are certainly all very proud of him.”

Provost Ian Clarkson, who attended the event, said: “The Duke of Edinburgh awards is one of the highlights of the year as it gives us a great opportunity to hear all about our young peoples’ achievements.

“The night was a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication they have demonstrated over the course of their DofE journey.

“It also highlights the outstanding work of our volunteers and youth services team in ensuring our young people have opportunities to flourish and expand their skillset.

“The DofE awards are recognised internationally as a standard of excellence, so we are delighted that so many of our young people can proudly boast this.”