FOUR young people have become the first pupils from an East Renfrewshire school for children with additional support needs to gain a gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Sophie Brough, William Campbell, Alex O’Donnell and Rachel Stoll, from the Isobel Mair School, in Newton Mearns, gained the award after completing a range of testing activities.

These included cookery, arts and crafts, drama, dance and sport.

The Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) gives young people aged 14 to 25 the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills to overcome personal challenges and to contribute to their communities.

Awards are presented at three levels – bronze, silver and gold – with a number of sections, including volunteering, physical, skills and expedition, required to be completed for each level.

The gold award also involves a five-day residential stay.

The group started working towards the award while still pupils and completed both their bronze and silver awards in partnership with school staff.

After leaving school, the youngsters joined the East Renfrewshire Open DofE group to complete their gold award.

This provides the opportunity for any young person in East Renfrewshire who would like to complete the DofE Award in a community setting.

Councillor Colm Merrick, East Renfrewshire’s convener for community services and community safety, congratulated the four.

He said: “The gold award recognises the very high level reached by these young people.

“The Duke of Edinburgh programme is a great way to recognise young people in East Renfrewshire for their hard work and dedication to the award, which develops essential skills for life and work.

“I would like to thank the youngsters for the great contribution they have made to their local community over recent years and wish them the best of luck for the future.”

The group were presented with badges at an event at East Renfrewshire Council’s headquarters.

They will attend the gold award presentation at Holyrood Palace, in Edinburgh, in July, when they will receive their certificate from a member of the royal family.