A GROUP of students have become the first in the schools's history to complete their gold Duke of Edinburgh award.

The seven students from Accrington Academy have been invited to Buckingham Palace to receive their awards.

The sixth form students, most of whom left the Academy last September, successfully completed a range of tasks over a five year period to achieve the accolade including voluntary work, treks such as the three peaks challenge, youth work and mentoring fellow students.

Those students taking part in the scheme were Ben Dewale, Rebecca Edwards, Bria Fielding, Alana Hargreaves, Rachael Wootton, Molly Waring and Jenna Tate, who is a current Year 13 student.

Two of the students, Jenna and Rachel, have already been presented with their certificates by Her Royal Highness Princess Anne at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.,

The students said they hope others will now be inspired to take on the challenge and achieve the award.

Jenna said: "The Duke of Edinburgh scheme has been part of my life for five years now and I’ve loved every minute of it.

"It has allowed me to gain experience and mature through the years.

"Receiving my gold award at the palace was a truly memorable experience.

"I hope that being one of the first at the Academy to achieve the gold award will help to motivate other students to take on this fantastic challenge."

Accrington Academy’s head of school, Nicola Palmer said: “The academy’s support for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme forms an important part of our commitment to provide our students with an education with character, enabling them to get the most from their time with us.

"Huge congratulations to all those who have successfully completed their gold award, earning themselves a place in Accrington Academy history.”