Stratford School Academy pupil helps launch fund in memory of Prince Philip

Shehbaaz Patel

Shehbaaz Patel is head boy at Stratford School Academy in Upton Lane, Forest Gate. - Credit: Zoe Haynes

A teenager has helped launch a fund in memory of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Stratford School Academy head boy Shehbaaz Patel joined youngsters from across the country to kick off the Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) scheme's living legacy fund.

The fund was set up in memory of Prince Philip, who founded the award scheme in 1956, with the aim of giving a million more youngsters from all backgrounds the chance to do their DofE.

At the launch, Shehbaaz shared with the BBC his thanks to the DofE for helping him build the self-belief, confidence and skills he will need to overcome anything life throws at him.

The 15-year-old from Forest Gate said: "Lockdown made us nervous and anxious about what the future will hold, but with the DofE we had the Zoom calls every week and it was the thing I looked forward to.


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"Lockdown was kind of monotonous: doing school lessons every day, sitting at home. You couldn’t go out, you couldn’t play – there was nothing you could do."

The youngster suggested setting up a charity as part of the volunteering element of the DofE during one Zoom meeting.

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It would hope to raise £5,000 and use the money to provide food or school equipment to poorer pupils.

Headteacher, Craig Hewitt, said: "This is a great example of the positive contribution our young people make to society. Shehbaaz is a great role model and a fantastic ambassador for Stratford School Academy."

The living legacy fund's purpose is to give more young people the opportunity to do their DofE, regardless of their circumstances or background.

It aims to provide targeted help to young people who need specialist support to take part, whether they are facing financial hardship, are in a young offender institution or prison, or have special educational needs or disabilities. 

DofE sees 14- to 24-year-olds carry out a range of challenges towards completion of bronze, silver and gold awards. Find out more at https://www.dofe.org/

For more information on the living legacy fund, visit https://events.dofe.org/living-legacy-fund

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