CWO Charlie Owen Volunteers at St James Palace

On the 4th of December 2018, I was fortunate enough to travel down to St James’s Palace to carry out some voluntary work with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

This opportunity came about by completing a survey after my own Gold Award Presentation, held at Buckingham Palace earlier this year. The role on offer was that of a VIP Host. As part of this role, I was asked to escort various VIP guests on a tour around the State Apartments. This was a huge honour to participate in. St James’s Palace is a Royal Residence not open to the public so people are only allowed in by invitation. It was a very surreal experience to walk around such a historic and prestigious place. We were informed that all the walls are made up of silk wallpaper and all the gold gilding around the rooms was 22kt gold leaf. It was fantastic to learn so many facts about the State Apartments such as; the Throne at St James’s Palace is the most senior in the realm; that the paintings hung in the Picture Gallery have an estimate value of at least one million pounds each.

After the tour of the State Apartments, I escorted the guests into a VIP reception where we heard from two speakers about how The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has changed and benefited their life. The stories told highlighted the benefits of confidence, teamwork and leadership which rung through to the VIPs who deliver the award in various organisations across the UK. Then there was a more in-depth history talk by a member of DofE staff.

After the reception, I then escorted VIP guests to their seats and then sat and watched the presentations for people receiving their awards. This was a huge honour to share the success with many young people and talk to them about their award stories.

Finally, I would like to thank the DofE for this fantastic opportunity. I would like to thank Jo, who was the Events Co-ordinator for an experience that will stay with me for many years to come. I would also like to pass on my congratulations to anyone who has achieved their DofE award at any level.

By CWO Charlie Owen