A dedicated Greater Manchester Police (GMP) cadet has received the royal seal of approval after achieving the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award.
Soraya Holloway attended Buckingham Palace on Monday to receive the prestigious award and is the first GMP cadet to achieve her Duke of Edinburgh gold.
She landed the prestigious accolade after being assessed on five key elements of the programme over the past three years which include volunteering, physical activities, skills, an expedition and a residential.
Soraya has progressed from being a volunteer police cadet to a volunteer police cadet leader and is using her skills to develop other young cadets.
The committed 18 year-old has taken part in a wide range of physical activities throughout the programme including circuits, shuttle runs, bleep tests and team games such as dodge ball, bench ball, football, basketball and rounders.
Soraya has also demonstrated skill by learning to drive and by learning other key police skills such as stop and search, powers of arrest, crime prevention training and she has carried out a mock police investigation from start to finish.
Around 300,000 young people under 25 take part in the Duke of Edinburgh award programme each year at three progressive levels which lead to bronze, silver and gold awards if they are completed successfully.
The programme also saw Soraya complete a tough expedition in Whitby, North Yorkshire where she demonstrated excellent map reading skills and knowledge during the trip. She has also volunteered at The Seashell Trust – a charity dedicated to providing a creative, happy and secure environment for children and young adults with complex and severe learning disabilities.
At the Cadet Summer Camp Awards in 2018 she won the Irlam & Cadishead Unit Team Leader of the Year award.
Soraya, who is now based within the National Volunteer Police Cadet Team at GMP’s Force Headquarters, is delighted to have achieved the award.
She said: “I’m over the moon to have completed the scheme and I can’t wait to go and receive it at Buckingham Palace which will be a real honour.
“To achieve the Gold award has required a lot of hard work and dedication but by pushing myself to the limit I’ve been able to achieve things which I didn’t think were possible before I joined the programme.
“The scheme has played a huge part in my development as a police cadet and GMP Staff member and I’d recommend it to anyone because it gives you knowledge and skills that will last a lifetime and help you in your career too.”
Participants must work towards each section of the awards for a minimum period of time and must be monitored and assessed by someone with knowledge of the chosen activities.
Typically work towards a bronze award lasts for between 3 and 6 months, a silver award takes 6 to 9 months to complete while a gold award lasts for between 12 and 18 months.
GMP’s Chief Constable, Ian Hopkins said: “The Duke of Edinburgh award is a fantastic programme and we support all our police cadet volunteers to participate in the bronze award with a small number going on to achieve silver.
“It’s fantastic news that Soraya has achieved the Gold award. She has worked extremely hard to land this accolade and I know it has played a big part in her development as a police cadet.
“Soraya has proved to be a natural leader and is a confident young lady who has aspirations of having a career in the police service and I’ve no doubt she will succeed.”