Bruton student's Duke of Edinburgh Award leads to meeting with Earl of Wessex at St James's Palace
A BRUTON student has rubbed shoulders with royalty after seeing years of hard work come to fruition.
Sexey's School pupil Tamara Reynolds was invited to St James's Palace, London, to receive her gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
She has completed her bronze, silver and gold awards at the Bruton school.
The teenager travelled to the palace with her mother to meet HRH the Earl of Wessex.
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Miss Reynolds said: "It was an inspiring day where I met others from the South West who had also completed their awards, as well as having the opportunity to speak to Prince Edward.
"I am truly grateful to Kate Harvey at Sexey's School and all of the adult leaders who have up their time to train me and supervise me on my expeditions.
"I also want to thank my parents who have driven me to Dartmoor and other locations over the years."
Miss Reynolds said completing all three levels of the award had given her "a huge sense of achievement", making a number of friends along the way.
She said: "When walking for four days out in the middle of nowhere together, you support each other as a team.
"When someone is struggling because they are tired or soaking wet, the whole group pulls together to help."
As part of the award, students completed sections in volunteering, physical activity, skill and expedition.
The final gold award demanded students to spend five days and four nights away from home on a voluntary activity.
As part of the award scheme, Miss Reynolds also volunteered with Raleigh International for five weeks in Sabah, Borneo. She helped to build a gravity water feed system to supply a community with a reliable source of fresh water for the first time.
Miss Reynolds said: "We also spent a week trekking through the jungle, sleeping in hammocks and building rafts.
"It really pushed me to my limits but was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life."
The student now hopes to read law at university, having completed a two-year part time "Pathways to Law" placement at Bristol University.
Miss Reynold's mother, Mandy, said: "We believe that it is her commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award that got her accepted onto the scheme.
"Showing commitment to other things outside of school can really open doors."