Teenager follows in his grandfather’s footsteps to claim top honour

PRIDE Ed Hampton-Matthews who received the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award, just lake his grandfather Mike Hampton.
PRIDE Ed Hampton-Matthews who received the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award, just lake his grandfather Mike Hampton.
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A TEENAGER picked up his Duke of Edinburgh Award at Buckingham Palace – 47 years after his grandfather did the same.

Despite being told he would never be able to ride a bike or swim when he was a child, Ed Hampton-Matthews has defied all the odds.

Ed Hampton-Matthews' grandfather Mike Hampton

Ed Hampton-Matthews' grandfather Mike Hampton

The 18-year-old has now received his Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award from His Royal Highness – just like his grandfather in 1964.

He is also the fourth member of the family to achieve the honour – along with his aunt and sister.

Ed, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis in his legs and hyper-mobility in his ankles, knees, fingers and wrists, said: ‘It’s good because it’s always something I have wanted to do and hearing about my grandad doing it inspired me to do it myself.

‘It feels really good and I’m quite proud of myself for completing it.

‘It’s an experience that I really enjoyed and set me up for the future.

‘It’s something I will probably remember for the rest of my life and I have made some great friends doing it.’

His grandad Mike Hampton proudly went to Buckingham Palace in 1964 to receive his Gold Award from The Duke of Edinburgh and returned to London to witness his only grandson receive his award. 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded in 1956 and so Mike, now a retired police officer, was one of the early recipients of the award at the age of 18.

Mike, now 65 and living in Waterlooville, said: ‘It was fantastic, I was very proud.

‘It’s a different set-up now as more and more people are doing the scheme.

‘I could never have imagined when I was that age that this would happen.

‘I would like to think that Edward or his sister would encourage their children to do it.

‘It’s a fantastic thing to do.

‘It sets you apart from the others and it does set you up for life.’

Ed, who is studying at Coventry University but lives in Lawn Drive in Locks Heath, managed to achieve his award even younger at the age of 17.

He completed his Bronze, Silver and Gold awards in 2007, 2008 and 2010 respectively. 

As part of the award he has been cycling, sailing, walking camping and he has helped out in the community.

His achievements are all the more remarkable bearing in mind that doctors had told his parents at the age of three, that his condition would mean he would never ride a bike or be able to swim. 

But he defied all the odds and rode a bike for the first time at the age of seven.

‘I just proved them wrong,’ he added.

‘It was something I always wanted to do.

‘It took quite a long time to do it and I had to try very hard.

‘Riding a bike wouldn’t feel special to anyone else but it was a really big deal for me.’