Richard Brand celebrates 30 years of DofE service

Scores of young people with disabilities have completed their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards while attending National Star, thanks to one person.

By Matt Walsh · 01/03/2024

Richard and former students Elliot, Zoe, Ben, Ed and Rich

Richard Brand has led the DofE programme at National Star at since 2007. In that time more than 100 young people with complex needs have achieved their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

National Star employees, students and former students gathered to celebrate Richard receiving his own award, marking 30 years’ service to DofE.

Photo collage - Richard leading students on expedition and female student smiling

‘This award is not based purely on length of service, although 30 years is hugely impressive,’ said Simon Welch, Chief Operations Officer. ‘This award recognises Richard’s dedication to DofE and his commitment to enable anyone to access, achieve and enjoy this great programme.’

Former National Star student Georgie Williams completed her Silver and Gold awards with Richard. Last year she won a national award for her volunteering in the NHS.

‘Richard has inspired me to volunteer in my community. My efforts meant that I won NHS Scotland volunteer of the year. Thank you, Richard, for what you have helped me to achieve,’ said Georgina.

Former student Rich Amos completed his Gold Award between 2006-2009. ‘Everything I learned through the programme has enabled me to do what I am doing now,’ said Rich. ‘Going to Buckingham Palace to receive my award from the Duke of Edinburgh will stay with me forever.’

Photo collage - Two female students smiling with hills in the background and Richard speaking to male students ahead of a hike

Richard and his twin brother received their Gold Awards in 1977. Richard went on to help set up and run a DofE group at a youth club in Lambourn before moving on to lead and develop the DofE programme at Harrow Sixth Form College. Richard joined National Star in 2007.