Duke of Edinburgh Gold Medal Award - Rina Paterson
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Memories of a day at Holyrood Palace in 1963 by Mrs Rina Paterson.

As the first person from Maybole to be awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Medal, I was a very excited 19 year old, and proud to represent the town, when I attended a reception at Holyrood Palace in 1963. It had been an exciting year for me as I had changed my name from Rina Cannon to Rina Paterson when I married my husband Ian earlier in the year.

I first got started on the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme soon after it was introduced nationally. Carrick Academy, where I was a 15-year-old pupil, had around ten pupils interested and started them off. I was the only one to finish the award, as the project collapsed after some time.

At the time I was also very much a participant in the Maybole Girl Guides and I would have preferred to work towards the award there but they were not involved at this time, so I had to come out of that organisation to do the award. Miss Mary Stewart, later to marry the local Church of Scotland Minister Rev. Anderson, got the Guides to participate later. When the Carrick Academy project folded, I had to find my own mentors, and I went back to the local cub mistress Miss Monica Irvine who agreed to become my mentor.

Part of the Award involved collecting stamps, which I still do today, and Mr James Pringle, helped me here. To complete the swimming section, up to the life saving stage, I had to go to Kilmarnock Baths, as a beginner. The other sector of the award was to design and decorate a room, for which I had to arrange visits to a local tradesmen, sitting the final part of this exam at an architect's house at Hogg's Corner. It took me four years to complete the Gold award.

To be presented with the award, I had to go to Holyrood Palace. I was accompanied by my husband and brother. We stayed overnight at the North British Hotel in Edinburgh and strangely enough the first person I met was Miss Alexandra Scott, a former English teacher at Carrick Academy, who greeted me with the question "What are you doing here?"

Once at Holyrood, we were taken to an area sectioned off for our part of Scotland and groups were asked to stand in a horseshoe shape, two people being selected to stand in the middle and be presented to the Duke of Edinburgh. I was one of the two in our group. I remember it was an absolutely beautiful day to be outside and I was not too nervous as I had twice before met the Duke while doing my Bronze Medal, once at a project in the Carrick Hills and later at the County Buildings in Ayr.

I remember the Glasgow Herald taking pictures, but I don't have a copy. When he came to shake my hand, he was told that I had completed the award independently and I remember he made some remark about me not being independent having been married in March.

The award was hard work but well worth achieving and has left me with good memories.