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The Diocese of
Westminster Academy Trust

Douay Students Meet the Duke of Edinburgh

Two Sixth Formers, Ricky Patel and Leah Mouchous accompanied by Mr Mcloed were awarded certificates by Prince Philip after successfully completing a two week gliding course

Both students attended an open day at the Gliding School with 18 other students and consequently successfully applied for the the life changing opportunity to embark on a two week course , sponsored by British Airways, to learn to fly a glider solo. This took part over the summer holidays and in the half-term culminated in a Awards Reception at St James Palace hosted by the Duke of Edinburgh

Ricky Patel explains what the course and the day meant to him in hos own words

'The actual course lasted two weeks and took place in Booker Gliding club in High Wycombe. It consisted in a briefing in the morning in which we would check the weather to see if it was good enough to fly in and what we should be expecting when we are up there. After this we would get up in the glider and have a couple of flights every hour including a couple of hours in the motor glider. During this time we started off with learning the basics and even started to fly the glider without any assistance on the first day. From this point onward it only got better as more often you will be in control of the glider. We also learnt how to do some aerobatics which was probably a highlight of the course as it was quite an adrenaline rushing experience. 

Other benefits of the scholarship include meeting other scholarship winners around the country, seeing the the day to day running of the BA headquarters in Waterside and attending the annual reception in St. James' Palace in which you will receive your award by the head of the Air League. One of the other major benefits of completing the course was meeting Prince Phillip himself. It was quite surreal to meet him let alone have a conversation with him. At the palace we were awarded with our certificate by the head of the air league,  Sir Roger Bone. During this time you get to meet other winners, not just for gliding but for flying, helicopters and act of bravery award winners.  

 I believe that this course doesn't only teach you how to fly a glider but other key skills such as leadership, communication and independence. The skills that I have learnt throughout the course are things that will stick with me for the rest of my life. To have the opportunity to fly solo in a glider when only two weeks ago you had no prior experience is an accomplishment not many have the privilege to say. This was definitely an experience I will never forget. '