14 Jun 2021

Recognition for 47 years' DoE service

A long-serving volunteer for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award has been recognised for his incredible service.

Barry Jackman, a retired teacher, has dedicated much of his life to the scheme which has been inspiring young people since 1956.

In the week the Duke of Edinburgh would have celebrated his 100th birthday, Barry was handed a DoE Long Service Award for his 47 years of voluntary duty.

During that time, he has worked with young people in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Far East as well as the Isle of Wight, and led expeditions in deserts and tropical rainforests.

Barry, who lives in East Cowes, remembers fondly undertaking his own Silver expedition in the New Forest as a young boy of 15 in 1961. He also remembers meeting the Duke of Edinburgh at Portsmouth Guildhall on one of his many visits to the city.

Barry's first post as a DoE volunteer was in Leigh Park, Portsmouth, in 1968. Two years later, he and his wife, Ruth, moved to the Island where Barry took up a teaching post at Cowes High School.

He recalled: "The DoE scheme at Cowes High School took off and became one of the largest groups in England.

"Young people gained all three levels of the award which meant we were able to be guests at Gold award ceremonies in London. I have a photo of my son sat in a washing up bowl in a mini-caravan on Exmoor when he was less than six months old. He is now approaching 50."

Barry said pinpointing a specific "best moment" was tricky, but flying over the Mohne Reservoir in a helicopter in Germany was particularly memorable, as was being taught how to shoot a blow dart in the tropical rainforest near the Thai border with Malaysia.

As a volunteer, he said he greatly enjoyed watching young people gain in confidence and achieve success when faced with a challenge, as well as learning how to deal with the disappointment of failure.

And he had this message for anyone considering taking part in the DoE scheme:

"It will change you.

"You will meet people from different walks of life which will challenge you in many different ways, but what you learn from them will make you a far better person; a much wiser and tolerant human being.

"If what motivates you includes adventure, decency, tolerance and faith in human nature, becoming a DoE volunteer is a natural progression."

After a lifetime supporting the scheme, Barry said it was now time for him to step away, explaining: "When I took over as an area co-ordinator for DoE in West Sussex, my predecessor was 64 and I was in my mid-30s.

"I thought the award scheme needed fronting by a much younger person and now I am ten years older than him so I guess it is now time to watch from the sidelines.

"I have a box of photos and a host of memories to remind me of some good times."

Since records began in 2002, around 1,000 young people on the Island have completed their DoE Award — including more than 200 Gold awards.

The scheme is supported with the help of 22 local volunteer leaders in community groups — not including schools — and 126 have been trained over many years.

Councillor Debbie Andre, Cabinet member for children's services, education and skills, said: "The DoE scheme is an excellent award programme that imbues the qualities of resilience, problem-solving, team-working, and communication in participants, while boosting self-confidence and self-esteem.

"Young people can take part in the programme from 14 years until their 25th birthday. However, none of this would be possible without the dedicated service of those volunteers who give up their time to run the programme and its activities which includes an expedition at each level involving a residential element.

“My thanks go to Barry for his years of service and I hope that his story will inspire others to come forward as leaders for the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme.

"This is a fitting tribute to its founder, Prince Philip, and I hope it will continue to equip those who take part with valuable skills for life in the years to come.”

To find out more about becoming a DoE volunteer, email: carol.taverner@iow.gov.uk

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Barry Jackman with his long service award
Barry Jackman with his long service award
  • Since records began in 2002, around 1,000 young people on the Island have completed their DoE Award — including more than 200 Gold awards.
  • To find out more about becoming a DoE volunteer, email: carol.taverner@iow.gov.uk
Isle of Wight, UK