Top Girlguiding award for ‘inspiring’ women

Adelaide Elphick
Adelaide Elphick

Two inspirational young women from Haywards Heath have risen to the challenge to achieve the highest award in Girlguiding.

Jacqueline Johnson, 26, and Adelaide Elphick, 22, were presented with the Queen’s Guide Award at the House of Commons on Saturday June 11 by Chief Guide Valerie Le Vaillant, Girlguiding’s most senior volunteer.

Jacqueline Johnson

Jacqueline Johnson

Adventurers and former Girlguiding members Anna McNuff and Sarah Williams were invited to the celebration to meet the award recipients and both gave speeches about the incredible dedication and achievements of the young women.

To achieve the prestigious award the young women took on a series of personal challenges in areas such as social action, voluntary work and travel and these had to be completed before they turned 26. Fewer than 150 Girlguiding members are presented with the award each year.

Adelaide Elphick said: “I improved my leadership and organisation skills a lot while completing the award. I also gained confidence as I completed tasks I otherwise would not have considered such as attending Innovate and leading a group on an overnight trip to complete the Senior Section permit.”

Jacqueline Johnson, leader with 3rd Haywards Heath Senior Section and 3rd Haywards Heath Guides, said: “As part of the award I promoted the work of our local food bank this made me the most proud as it allowed the Senior Section group I lead to help the community and learn more about the families in need. Their reaction to the needs of the community was very touching and their responses to the needs were exceptional.”

Like the Queen’s Guides, speakers Anna and Sarah know how to rise to a challenge. Last year Anna spent five and a half months running along New Zealand’s Te Araroa trail, covering almost 2,000 miles in the process, while Sarah recently completed a gruelling six marathons in six days in the Sahara Desert as part of the Marathon des Sables.

Anna said: “I have such fond memories of my years as a Girl Guide and being part of the Queen’s Guide Awards has brought it all back. The courage and dedication these bright young women have shown in attaining this award is nothing short of extraordinary. Most importantly I know this is just the start for them. The start of a life filled with exploration and endeavours that will push them far beyond their comfort zones, and it’s this which I find most exciting of all.”

Sarah said: “It was brilliant to be at the Queen’s Guides Award celebration and to meet so many inspiring young women. As someone who is always thinking about my next adventure I loved hearing about all the different challenges carried out as part of the award and how they had pushed themselves.”

Girlguiding’s Chief Guide Valerie Le Vaillant said: “It was a real privilege to present the Queen’s Guides with their awards. This group of young women are truly inspirational and they have done exceptionally well to achieve the Queen’s Guide Award by taking positive action in their communities and beyond. They are our next inspiring female role models who have proved they are a force for good. They should all be very proud of their achievements.”

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