Moray stones trail commemorates Duke of Edinburgh Award legacy
The final commemorative stone in a trail honouring Moray’s unique place in the history of the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award is now in place.
A ceremony held yesterday (Thursday 20 July 2023) at the rose garden in Duffus was opened by piper Lauren Caldwell, with Gordonstoun School pupils Gianna Gillies and Rob Lyall joining Lord-Lieutenant of Moray Major General Seymour Monro, Moray Council Civic Leader Cllr John Cowe and Janis and Derek Thomson from the Moray DofE charity, to unveil the heritage marker.
The trail ends close to where the DofE Award - which has helped transform the lives of millions of young people around the world - has its beginnings.
In 1936, founding headmaster of Gordonstoun, Kurt Hahn, created the original Moray Badge which later evolved into the DofE Award. With the late Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, as patron and the driving force behind the programme, the Award for young people was launched at Gordonstoun and the old Elgin Academy in 1956.
Over six decades on, more than 500,000 young people aged 14 to 24 are currently working toward their bronze, silver or gold award across the UK and it is operational in more than 130 countries and territories, building confidence, resilience and perseverance in all those who take part.
Maj Gen Munro said: “I’m quite sure that the founders would never have foreseen the impact this Award has had on millions of people and volunteers around the world. Our late Queen Elizabeth acknowledged that the award was the Duke’s greatest legacy.
“Today the Award works hard to ensure every young person, irrespective of need and abilities, can participate and create their own DofE journey of achievement.”
The stones project began in 2015 in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the Award. Karen Delaney, then Moray Council’s DofE Award manager, worked with a group of young people to tell the story of the history of the Award in Moray.
The first stone in now located opposite the Fochabers Memorial Garden on the Speyside Way and the Fochabers Folk and Heritage Museum hosts an exhibition on the Moray Badge and DofE Award. The final stone at Duffus joins the other heritage trail stones and plaques located at the current Elgin Academy, the old Elgin Academy site which is now part of Moray College UHI, Gordonstoun and Moray Council HQ campus in Elgin.
Fundraising for the project has been led by the Moray DofE Award charity which supports the training and development of volunteers and also fundraises for equipment for groups and individuals to take part in the programme. Last year, the dedication of the volunteers was recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.
Karen, a member of the council’s Community Learning and Development Team and also a DofE volunteer, said it was a special day for DofE in Moray. She thanked all those who have been involved in the project, including Gavin Tennant of Tennants (Elgin) who supplied the stones and the council’s Land and Parks Service.
She said: “It is a pleasure to see the coming together of three ideas: the DofE anniversary stones, the exhibition at Fochabers Heritage Centre and the Moray stones trail. DofE is a fantastic award and opportunity for any young person and adult volunteer, and I would encourage anyone to get involved.”
More information on the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Moray and opportunities to be involved as a participant or volunteer, is on the council website here.