Matlock Guides leader Dawn Hutcheson scoops highest award

An inspirational young woman from Matlock has achieved the highest honour in Girlguiding.

Dawn Hutcheson was presented with the Queen’s Guide Award at the House of Commons.

Fewer than 150 women out of the thousands of Girlguiding members are presented with the award each year and have to complete the challenges before they turn 26.

Guide leader Dawn took three years to finish her challenges. These included leading a week-long summer camp at Walesby Forest Activity Centre to complete her camp licence, launching a mobile phone and printer cartridge recycling project and planning a tour of all the guiding sights in London.

Dawn, 26, said: “Completing the award has definitely increased my confidence and helped me to develop new skills. It has shown me I can do anything I put my mind to. It has also allowed me to do things I may not have done without taking part in the award and deepened my passion for Girlguiding.”

Physiotherapist and explorer Justine Gosling attended the awards ceremony.

Justine, a former Brownie and Guide, spoke about her own volunteering work; as an international emergency disaster responder in Haiti last year and helping to build shelters and school kitchens in Africa – alongside her day job as a physiotherapist on an intensive care ward and planning and undertaking polar expeditions.

She said: “It was an honour to attend the Queen’s Guide Awards and to meet the young women who have worked hard to complete the award and celebrate their achievements. The best part was hearing all the different stories about each of the projects, which have led these women to become such amazing role models.”

Sally Illsley, Deputy Chief Guide, handed over the Queen’s Guide Awards.

She said: “It was a real privilege to present these inspirational young women with their awards. Hearing about the challenges they overcame to complete their projects, and make a difference in their communities and beyond demonstrated true resilience and passion. Attaining the Queen’s Guide Award is no mean feat and they should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”