Gold standard students

Project Challenge Operations Manager Peter Dawber, Melissa McDonagh, Danyal Ghani, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, Jordan Shepley and Duke of Edinburgh award leader Trudy McLaughlin at Holyrood Palace.
Project Challenge Operations Manager Peter Dawber, Melissa McDonagh, Danyal Ghani, mountaineer Alan Hinkes OBE, Jordan Shepley and Duke of Edinburgh award leader Trudy McLaughlin at Holyrood Palace.
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Three youngsters from Halifax have been given Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards for their work at Project Challenge.

Melissa McDonagh and Jordan Shepley, both 20 and Danyal Ghani, 21, are the first students from the charity’s programme to receive the prestigious accolade.

They embarked on a five-day expedition to France, Italy and Switzerland, completing the Tour du Mont Blanc, as well as volunteering on a range of Project Challenge schemes and fundraising for the organisation.

Project Challenge provides intensive training to disaffected young people to help them achieve qualifications and improve their confidence.

Trudy McLaughlin, Duke of Edinburgh award leader said: “All of them have moved on so much confidence-wise. It’s absolutely fantastic to see.

“We’re extremely proud of them. They’ve done it with minimal support. They’re the only three youngsters we’ve ever had to achieve this.

“They started the award in summer 2011 and went on the expedition in September 2012 for two weeks.

“They also volunteered supporting our staff to deliver programmes and first aid and raised money for a new mini bus by clearing a garden and bag packing at supermarkets.

“There was also an 18 month section of physical fitness which the council and local businesses supported.

“We went to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh for the awards presentation, which was fantastic.

“They were presented with their awards by mountaineer Alan Hinkes and congratulated by the Earl of Wessex.”

Jordan Shepley, from Sowerby Bridge, who has now also completed an engineering qualification, said: “It was hard but rewarding. The scenery was really beautiful.

“It’s really broadened my horizons as I’d never been abroad before.

“It was a good experience and it taught me team work skills and improved my confidence.

“Hopefully it wiil be a springboard for me to go onto other things.”