Lucy Pullinger left Reigate College in the summer of 2014, having attained A, A, A*, A* in Geography, Biology, English Literature and her EPQ (in order). She is currently in the second year of a three year degree course at the University of Durham. 

She explained, “I’m doing a three year BA in Geography which I’m loving. In the first year you do both Human and Physical Geography and then get to specialise in one or the other in the subsequent two years.  I’ve decided to specialise in Human Geography because I enjoy the political side of the subject as well as the study of different societies. I’ve joined Hatfield College’s rowing team (Hatfield is one of the Colleges at Durham) and also the College’s student welfare group, to help support other students.”

Lucy completed her Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award during the summer of 2014, having taken only two years to complete it. She commented, “I was keen to try and finish the Gold Award before I started at uni, as I knew it would be tricky fitting it in once I was there.  

“The D of E is a great thing to do.  At the time, when you’re hiking through muddy hills with a huge pack on your back you might not think so!  But when you start going for uni interviews you realise just how much weight people put on it.”

“For the ‘Sport’ part of the qualification I just continued with my ballet, which was no hardship as I’d been doing it since the age of 6.  I play the Violin so continued with lessons for 6 months, so that it would count towards the Skills section.  For the Volunteering I helped out at the YMCA’s Yippee Club at the Sovereign Centre in Reigate.  I helped for three hours a week every Thursday afternoon for about 18 months – which was more than I needed to (the minimum is an hour a week for 12 months), but I really enjoyed it.  The Club is for kids with disabilities and I got to go on all sorts of trips like ice-skating, so it was lots of fun!  

I did the Expedition part of the qualification in the Peak District.  This was a 3 night, 4 day expedition that I found incredibly hard, because walking with a pack on your back for 8 hours a day for 4 days and having to build your own shelter and cook and carry all your own food isn’t easy! 

For the Residential I worked on a CHICK (Country Holidays for Inner City Kids) project that I found through the D of E website.  I think the voluntary work I’d been doing with the YMCA helped me get selected.  I spent 5 nights in Devon with a group of kids from Glasgow.  Many of them had never been to a beach before, or had the chance to go swimming – which came as quite a shock.  We took some of the kids horse-riding and I got a chance to put my dance skills to good use in the talent show!  

All of the unis I visited brought up the D of E Award.  I was already doing Ballet and Violin – but the Award was a great catalyst for doing other things.  Things I wouldn’t have otherwise done.   I probably wouldn’t have volunteered at the YMCA or got a placement with CHICKS, if I hadn’t have been doing the D of E and I certainly wouldn’t have done the Expedition! 

A highlight of the Award was being presented with the Award and a certificate by Prince Edward at St.James’s Palace.”

Lucy Pullinger 

Left Reigate: 2014

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