A Rathriland teenager was one of only 50 boys from across the whole of the UK invited to represent their Boys Brigade Battalions at a special ceremony in London to mark the 100th anniversary of the Queen’s Award.
Craig Rogers, 18, of 1st Loughbrickland Boys Brigade company travelled to James’s Palace where he met HRH Duke of York, Prince Andrew.
The Queen’s Badge is the highest award that a boy can gain in The Boys’ Brigade. In order to gain The Queen’s Badge each boy must complete a full Queen’s Badge programme as well as meeting some entry requirements.
Craig, who will begin studying software engineering at Queen’s University, explained what the award is about: “The award aims to challenge and equip the individual, provide new opportunities and expand horizons while remaining accessible to young people of all abilities.
“It offers the chance to engage with the local community, take on responsibility, set personal goals, build self-confidence and experience a sense of achievement.
“As a result of this programme of work, candidates can show qualities valued by employers, through a positive attitude towards: teamwork, achieving quality, continuing education and training relationships with others.”
Talking about his special invite Craig said: “For me this was a real honour as only 50 boys from the whole of the UK were invited to this reception hosted by Prince Andrew, with me representing the Down Battalion, along with the other 15 boys from Northern Ireland representing their battalions.
“To commemorate this prestigious event each boy was presented with a special box for our Queen’s badge by Prince Andrew himself which had the event and date engraved inside it.”
Craig continued: “Before we attended the ceremony we had the chance to go into Westminster and meet up with a few of our local MPs, just to learn about their own political experiences and what their job entails when they’re in Westminster and back in Northern Ireland.
“We received a very warm welcome from these politicians as they all were involved in the Boys Brigade themselves, and so took great pride in meeting everyone who had been selected to attend the ceremony.”
Craig continued: “Having been in 1st Loughbrickland Boys Brigade company for nearly 14 years, my time as a boy is coming to an end having achieved my Queen’s Badge, so to be able to finish it off in this way is a real privilege and an experience I will remember.”