The Earl of Wessex comes to Birchwood as Dine Contract Catering hosts the DofE Diamond Challenge

His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex visited entrepreneurial operator, Dine Contract Catering’s headquarters in Warrington on 23rd February, to witness local young people take on a Challenge to mark the 60th Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).

Teams of pupils from three local schools that run the DofE as well as apprentices from Dine Contract Catering and Ambassadors from the DofE went head to head in a Ready, Steady, Cook-style competition, which was judged by celebrity chef, Andrew Nutter – a former Ready Steady Cook chef himself.  Also judging was Bill Holroyd, Cheshire High Sheriff, whose career in catering included establishing foodservice distribution firm, Holroyd Meek.

Compèred by former Krypton Factor contestant, Geoff Kershaw, the teams battled the clock to cook a meal suitable for eating during a DofE Award expedition, based on a fixed set of ingredients.

After much anticipation, Woolston High School were crowned winners of the Ready, Steady, Cook-style competition.

Dine Contract Catering’s hosting of the competition is part of its ongoing support for the Charity, which is encouraging everyone to take part in a DofE Diamond Challenge in 2016 to help raise awareness and funds.

“We were thrilled to host the competition, which is not only a fun way to celebrate this important anniversary, but a great opportunity to encourage young people to develop an interest in cooking and potentially consider a career in catering,” said Ian Cartwright, Dine Contract Catering’s Managing Director.

“Passionate about helping young people to gain the skills and confidence they need to forge successful careers in catering, the ethos of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award fits very closely with our own.  Each of our apprentices is given the opportunity to achieve a DofE Award and you can see the difference in their confidence after completing challenging expeditions.”

Matthew Caldwell, is currently completing his Gold DofE programme as part of his apprenticeship at Dine Contract Catering.

“The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award really pushed me out of my comfort zone and made such a big difference to my confidence,” he said.  “I’ve made some great friends and gained some important skills just as I’m starting out in my career.  Not only does it look good on my CV, it’s also been a lot of fun!”

Through a Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE Award, young people aged 14-24 from all backgrounds and circumstances have the unique opportunity to grow as adults; gaining valuable life experience while developing essential employability skills. In its Diamond year, the DofE is encouraging people of all ages to set and achieve their goals through the DofE Diamond Challenge.  This is a one-off initiative for 2016 that aims to give everyone a flavour of the life-changing benefits of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and raise money for the Charity.  The event at Birchwood Park is among thousands of Challenges being taken on across the year.

To take part in the DofE Diamond Challenge or to find out more, visit: