The 2016 Thanksgiving Service will be led by the Queen to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).
Accompanied by Prince Philip and the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Her Majesty will attend the service at Westminster Abbey on Thursday, and will be joined by a number of high profile DofE Award holders, including Paralympic Gold Medallist Hannah Cockroft and soprano Laura Wright as well as 2,000 volunteers and supporters of the DofE Charity.
Prince Edward will deliver a speech to a congregation of 2,000 people, while DofE Ambassador Jon Culshaw is also expected to give a reading.
Speaking ahead of the Diamond Anniversary, the Duke of Edinburgh said, ’’The growth of the scheme owes everything to the untold numbers of volunteers who have given their time and enthusiasm to bring its benefits to a constantly growing number of young people all over the world.”
The DofE was founded by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956 with a mission to inspire and transform the lives of millions of young people. It is currently run across 13,218 centres and supported by 1,800 partner organisations and 50,000 adult volunteers. The centres include schools, youth clubs, hospitals, housing associations, prisons and young offender institutions.
Over 60 years, nearly six million people have participated in DofE programmes in the UK and achieved over 2.5 million awards. Famous alumni include Katherine Jenkins, Josh Widdicombe and Ben Fogle.
The Charity says the aim is to reach another two million youngsters by 2020.
Back in September, the Countess of Wessex completed a seven-day challenge in support of the DofE after cycling 445 miles from the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace, a tour that she described as ”lovely experience”.
Upon departure on Thursday, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will meet members of the service, while the Wessexes will attend a reception.