TWO 1st Ben Rhydding Explorers have been awarded Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards.

Twenty-year-old twins, Joanne and Lucy Williamson received the awards from Mark Stageman, the County Commissioner, at the annual scout awards ceremony at The Victoria Hotel in Bradford.

The Gold Award is recognised by many employers as the height of youth achievement, showing outstanding ability and endurance.

Former Ilkley Grammar School students, Joanne and Lucy, now in their second year of university, needed to use their initiative to find other districts to fulfil the practice expedition (Halifax) and the assessed expedition (Keighley), as the Ben Rhydding Explorers were not offering the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award experience.

The pair gave a presentation about their award at the ceremony.

They said: "For our practice Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition we walked the Yorkshire Three Peak. For our qualifying Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition we walked the Howgills.

"For our residential, we took part in a three week NCS programme. The first week we spent at an outward bound centre, the second week we learnt about work life skills and charities staying in university accommodation and in the third week we raised money for a charity of our choice through a variety of different fundraising events

"We volunteered at our local athletics club Ilkley Harriers helping to coach the young children. Joanne worked on her swimming and Lucy worked on her running for the physical aspect of the award.

"For our skills section, Joanne played the clarinet and Lucy played the flute. We improved our playing and orchestral technique by participating in a production of Oliver with our school orchestra."

David Shaw, Community & PR Commissioner of Wharfedale Scouts said: "Very well done to Joanne and Lucy from all the Wharfedale District and not forgetting very proud dad Wilf (Scout Leader at 1st Ben Rydding Group) who will no doubt will have a celebration drink or two!"