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Stevenston’s Duke of Edinburgh stalwart wins national award

Congratulations to Norrie Brown, Duke of Edinburgh lead at Auchenharvie Academy, who has won the national award of Torchbearer of the Year 2023.

Norrie has received national recognition for his length of service of over 20 years at Auchenharvie Academy and for the many pupil’s lives he has impacted by breaking down barriers and reintroducing disengaged young people to school.

Norrie Brown, 65 – a DofE Leader of 20 years from Stevenston, North Ayrshire, received the Torchbearer of the Year accolade at a This Is Youth celebration held at London’s Postal Museum last week, receiving the recognition from DofE Chair of Trustees, Tanni, Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, DL and CEO Ruth Marvel, for his two decades of dedication to DofE participants.

Through delivering the DofE, Norrie has positively engaged some of Auchenharvie Academy’s hardest to reach students, helping young people secure university placements and jobs, and reducing anti-social behaviour at the local fire station as part of young people’s DofE Skills section.

The charity received hundreds of This is Youth nominations from across the UK across eight Duke of Edinburgh categories, with the final winners chosen by panels including DofE Youth Ambassadors and celebrity supporters. Judges also paid tribute to 12 other entrants for their extraordinary achievements.

Torchbearer of the Year and DofE Leader, Norrie Brown, said: “When I heard I had won I was numb but very, very proud. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see all these pupils that leave the school who have taken part in the Auchenharvie DofE programme being successful – whether that’s getting great jobs, or doing well at college or university. Knowing how well they’re doing is the biggest pleasure I get out of my job.”

Norrie says the most exciting part of delivering the DofE has been working with Kilwinning Fire Station to deliver a 12-week outreach programme.

He shared: “Two fire fighters approached me to say they were having lots of trouble in town with kids that went to Auchenharvie, so we set up a Skills section at the fire station. The young people do everything a firefighter does, like cutting dummies out of cars, hose running and getting to know the engine and tools. The rapport between pupils and fire service went up, incidents went down and it’s just gone from strength to strength.”

Hear from his colleagues and the young people he has inspired in the video above…

Congratulations again on this outstanding and well-deserved recognition Norrie! You are a credit to North Ayrshire! Now, it is time to put your feet up and enjoy your retirement!

Colleague Ross Muir, DofE Coordinator nominated Norrie, shared: “When I learned of the Torchbearer of the Year category, I immediately thought of Norrie and decided to nominate him.

“He is known as Mr DofE in our secondary school. The impact that Norrie has had on the pupils here at Auchenharvie Academy is extremely positive. He’s been involved with the DofE and delivering the award in the school for more than 20 years now.

“Auchenharvie Academy is located in one of the most deprived areas in Scotland, so Norrie used the DofE award to actually engage with the pupils who were maybe disengaging from school, and the difference he has made to our young people is just incredible.”

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