Down High School teacher Jonny Crutchley was recognised today for his photo ‘Sheep Traffic Jam’, which won first place in the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Photo Competition and is now featured in a DofE-themed exhibition at Heathrow Airport running until 9 March.
Jonny achieved his own Bronze and Silver Awards and has been running the DofE for six years now, firstly through Dominican College, Portstewart, and more recently at Down High School where Jonny achieved his own Awards. He is passionate about the impact that the DofE has on the young people he works with.
The competition’s theme was We Are DofE and submissions were received from all walks of life. In total, out of more than 1,300 photos submitted, eight were shortlisted to be displayed at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 at the T5 Gallery in an exhibition celebrating the Charity.
Jonny Crutchley said: “To me, the theme We Are DofE is all about teamwork, as well as the idea that absolutely anyone can do the DofE. Young people come from all walks of life, but through the DofE everyone has a chance to take part and challenge themselves.
“It’s fantastic to see what the kids get out of it – they get great enjoyment especially from the expedition, where they make new friends and see and do things they might never had imagined.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has been going strong since 1956, and the excitement generated around its Diamond Anniversary has led to more people getting involved than ever before. With over 5 million young people taking part to date, and countless parents, adult volunteers and other supporters involved, the DofE’s Photo Competition saw entries from across the UK.
Speaking about the exhibition Jonny added: “It feels amazing to have won the competition and be featured in the exhibition… I feel really privileged and honoured, but the young people are the real stars. The girls in my photo had to be self-sufficient for four days. The photo only shows day two, but the level of commitment from these young people is impressive, especially considering the challenges they needed to overcome to complete their DofE.”
Kate Thompson, Director of the DofE in Northern Ireland said: “The DofE changes the lives of those who take part and makes a huge difference to communities through the volunteering section. Jonny’s fantastic photograph captures the fun participants have whilst completing challenging expeditions that help them develop teamwork, self-sufficiency and problem solving skills.
“As a volunteer leader, Jonny gives a considerable amount of time to helping young people complete their programmes and it’s great to see that one of these moments is capture so well and on display for thousands to see”.
The DofE is the world’s leading youth achievement award, with over 250,000 young people currently taking part across the UK. Around 8,000 young people start a DofE programme in Northern Ireland each year. By achieving their DofE, young people develop key skills for work and life, such as leadership, teamwork, resilience, determination and self-confidence.