STRICTLY winner Ore Oduba has celebrated Prince Philip’s most successful legacy — the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme — and encouraged youngsters to sign up.
The TV star, 35, has hosted the DofE gold award ceremonies at Buckingham Palace for two years, alongside the Countess of Wessex and Princess Eugenie.
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The scheme is open to 14 to 24-year-olds from all backgrounds and is run through schools, academies, youth clubs, businesses, voluntary organisations and young offender institutions.
Since its launch in 1956, more than 6.7 million people have participated in DofE programmes in the UK and achieved over 3.1 million awards.
Ore said: “I remember being that age and seeing the world in a different way. You can literally do anything.
“Talking to the youngsters involved, hearing their stories and seeing so many of them fills me with hope for the future.
“These are the guys who are going to be running the country and the world in years to come.
“I’ve spoken to so many kids who have participated and it really has transformed the direction in which they’re going to take their lives and the people they become on the other side of it. That is absolutely staggering.
'PART OF THE LEGACY'
“That is part of the legacy of what the DofE is all about. It’s wonderful and I can’t wait to see what the kids do next.”
The DofE is constantly evolving, with more than 12,000 participants being funded to take part. Twenty five per cent of those starting DofE in 2019-20 were from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Ore said: “What is so special about the DofE is that it is a chance for kids to meet people that they may never have come across before, learn about them, learn about their cultures, learn about where they come from. They take that forward into their adult life.
“We can all live sheltered lives and only get to know our immediate group of friends or family.
“The scheme gives people a much broader look at the spectrum of amazing people that make up this country.”
One of the features of the scheme that Ore applauds is how it incorporates the outdoors.
The DofE’s four pillars — public service, fitness, practical skills and expedition — have remained unchanged since Prince Philip set it up in 1956, based on his character-shaping schooldays at Gordonstoun in Scotland.
Ore said: “There’s so much potential to get out there, get outside, and use your creativity.
“We’ve become so obsessed with phones, but there are so many other ways to develop yourself by being active and engaging with other people — people the same age, older and from different backgrounds and cultures.
“That’s really enriching. Maybe I’m traditional in that way, but that’s how I’m going to be raising my little boy.”
Ore, who has three-year-old son Roman with his wife Portia, a TV researcher, has been inspired by Prince Philip’s family values.
He said: “I never thought I had anything in common with the Duke of Edinburgh until I saw what he was leaving behind.
“He contributed to this amazing Royal Family, was at its head and got to see his kids and grandkids grow up — and great-grandkids. That’s the kind of life I would love to lead.”
In 2020, the “DofE with a Difference” was launched so young people could continue with the programme despite Covid and lockdown restrictions.
For more information, go to www.DofE.org
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