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The Anniversary of A Royal Visit

Today, 30 May 2021, is the 58th anniversary of a royal visit to The Leys, when the late Duke of Edinburgh flew in to mark the early days of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Stan Whitehead, a member of the Common Room for 35 years and Deputy Head for 19 years, welcomed Prince Philip. Stanley started the scheme at The Leys in the 1960s, as a broader counterpoint to the Combined Cadet Force. Launched in 1957, the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme was in its early days and The Leys was one of the first schools in East Anglia to adopt it.

The final edition of the Cambridge News on 30 May reported how the Duke himself piloted a bright red helicopter to land on the School fields. He was met by Headmaster Alan Barker and his wife Jean before beginning a whistle-stop tour. He was shown an eclectic series of demonstrations by pupils from local schools: first aid, a rescue operation from a ‘bombed building’, lifesaving, and baby bathing in a ‘mothercraft’ section. Boy scouts and local firemen even put out a ‘blazing oil patch’!

Stan says that “The Duke’s visit gave a definite boost to the interest in the scheme among pupils. Sixty years on it seems even stronger. It has given me great pleasure to see how many people are taking part in the scheme at The Leys today.”