Jon Culshaw recalls Prince Philip leaving people ‘laughing out loud’
A record 295,490 young people started the Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize last year, but next year the numbers are likely to be higher than ever. DofE Award staff tell I that since Prince Philip’s death there has been an increase in inquiries about completing the DofE Challenge, volunteering offers and generous donations.
Comedian and impressionist Jon Culshaw has been the project’s ambassador for 20 years. “People are pouring in,” he says.
“The Duke’s death really shed some light on him. The program is a very pragmatic thing that echoes the Duke of Edinburgh’s personality, that feeling of rolling up your sleeves and getting things done.
The newsletter i latest news and analysis
“Whenever we spoke to the kids at the presentation, he really cared about how the experience had been for them, and he wanted to hear firsthand what they were getting out of it, and you could just see his enthusiasm. for it.
Culshaw remembers how the Duke made everyone feel more relaxed in times of pressure.
“On these big occasions there was a feeling of nervousness, with the young people about to receive their gold prizes and the families watching. The Duke of Edinburgh at such times would not just make the youngsters feel comfortable, he would make them sway with laughter. He really had this way of making people laugh, while also wanting to know everything about what they did and how they grew up taking on the challenge.
“They felt valued and walked away feeling like it had been a special occasion, and then they passed on their own enthusiasm. He didn’t just walk through it in a ceremoniously regal fashion.
Culshaw has been a firm believer in the DofE program for two decades since he did an after-dinner humorous spot for an award-related event, saw what the organization did and decided he wanted to be involved.
As one of the stars of Dead Ringers on BBC radio and television, he says he was tempted to make an impression of the Duke on one of the many times they met, but he didn’t never did. However, Camilla once said to Culshaw, in front of the Prince of Wales, ‘are you doing Charles? Do it now, do it now! ‘. “I think the Duke would have appreciated that,” he laughs.
The future of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Prize looks set to continue in full swing, even though his boss is gone.
“In the last few years, when Prince Philip took a step back,” Culshaw says, “Prince Edward and Sophie have attended many presentations, as has Prince William. This will continue because it can be life changing, especially for young people who may not have had much encouragement so far in their lives.
“They’ve got a good idea of what they can do and what they’re capable of, and just really just builds up a confidence that makes them think, ‘I can take this.’ My school did not offer it, but I wish I had the chance to do so.
Another well-known personality who has spent years presenting DofE awards is presenter Sian Williams.
“I was asked to present Gold DofE awards to kids who didn’t believe they were good enough, brave enough, daring enough,” she tells i. “But the rewards helped them realize they were all of these things and more.”
Many other names, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Joanna Lumley, have supported the program, but there are some famous people who did the DofE themselves when they were growing up.
Besides the Duchess of Cambridge and the Earl of Wessex, who is very involved in the organization, other proud recipients include Steve Backshall, who says it has helped him with his’ courage ‘and’ ability to take it all in. stick to a task, ”while Dame Kelly Holmes says it has had a lasting impact on her life;
“I really enjoyed doing my DofE while I was in school. It gave me the opportunity to challenge myself, learn new things and do a good job in the community. This is something I still talk about with my classmates to this day.
Levison Wood, now 38, remembers the day he received his award and felt a real sense of accomplishment, while Alice Beer of This Morning said: “My grip and durability came of my own. DofE award and obtaining your Gold DofE. It says a lot about you as a person – that you know how to deal with difficult situations, that you are confident, and that you will shine over those who do not have the same experience as you.
English explorer David Hempleman-Adams, the first man in history to reach the geographic and magnetic poles north and south, says; “It has been the most influential thing of my life in terms of time for adventure and seeing the world.”