HRH The Duke of Edinburgh handing over patronage of the Outward Bound…
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HRH The Duke of Edinburgh handing over patronage of the Outward Bound Trust

At The Outward Bound Trust board meeting in March 2019, it was announced that The Duke of Edinburgh is handing over the Patronage of the outdoor educational charity, The Outward Bound Trust, to which His Royal Highness has given 65 years of service and unwavering personal commitment.

The Duke of Edinburgh will be succeeded as Patron by The Duke of York, who has been Chair of the Board of Trustees since 1999. The Duke of York will be succeeded as Chairman by Charles Philipps.

His Royal Highness became Patron of the Trust in 1953. It was The Duke of Edinburgh’s active patronage that was instrumental in the spreading of the Outward Bound mission to more than 30 countries worldwide, helping over a million young people to participate in experiential outdoor learning programmes which develop character and instil self-belief and resilience.

Kurt Hahn, the visionary educationalist who founded Gordonstoun School, set up Outward Bound in 1941. The Duke of Edinburgh, following his education at Gordonstoun School, supported Outward Bound and both men were instrumental in the creation of The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. His Royal Highnesses’ own experience with Hahn’s philosophies of education has always provided a unique connection with the young people attending Outward Bound throughout the decades.

Duke of Edinburgh visits Aberdovey

The Duke of York said: “It is an enormous privilege to take up this appointment of Patron from my father, who has been a stalwart supporter of the Trust and its work since it was founded in 1941. I was interviewed by my father for a position on the board of Trustees before I was appointed and I knew from the outset his intent. I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenges and rewards of guiding the Trust these past few years and with the wise council and guidance from my father.”

Nick Barrett, Chief Executive of The Outward Bound Trust comments: “Both The Outward Bound Trust and The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme have helped instil purpose, resilience, a sense of adventure and fun in millions of young people in the UK and many countries overseas. The Duke of Edinburgh has always stayed remarkably close to our charity. His Royal Highness has advised and challenged the Board, but also engaged brilliantly and directly when meeting with the young people who have benefited from our programmes. The Duke of Edinburgh’s involvement has gone far beyond any mere call of duty, we are immensely thankful but also stronger for all his intelligent and thoughtful direction and interventions.”

The Duke of Edinburgh has remained fully engaged with the Trust reading board papers, hosting dinners and visiting Outward Bound centres in the Lake District, Wales and the Scottish Highlands to meet with young people and support our work.

Deputy Patron of Outward Bound, Sir Chris Bonington says: “I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank The Duke of Edinburgh for his enduring and unflappable commitment to changing the lives of so many young people through outdoor adventurous learning. It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside him.”

The Duke of York has been Chairman of Trustees since 1999. During his Chairmanship, His Royal Highness has helped turn the charity around after very challenging times in the 1990s to see it grow into a thriving organisation that actively seeks to engage young people, whatever their circumstances or background and provide the opportunity to gain personal skills for life, so they can thrive at home, at school, in work and beyond. Nick Barrett explains: ‘The Duke of York has led the Board with real enthusiasm, true commitment and been very supportive of the staff at the charity. It was the Duke of York’s idea to abseil The Shard and he was the first to go over the top.’

The Trust is looking forward to the future with The Duke of York as Patron and continuing the close connection between the Royal Family and the development of young people.

The Trust is delighted that HRH Princess Beatrice of York was today elected to the Board of The Outward Bound Trust as a Trustee.

  • 1941 - The Outward Bound Trust was founded by Kurt Hahn and Lawrence Holt. The first sea school was opened in Aberdovey, Wales.
  • 1949 – A new Outward Bound sea school opens in Moray, Scotland
  • 1950s – The Outward Bound Trust is first recognised as the leading exponent of ‘character training’. A new mountain school opens at Eskdale and Ullswater in The Lake District.
  • 1951 – The first course exclusively for women is run at Eskdale in The Lake District
  • 5 March 1953 – The Duke of Edinburgh officially becomes Patron of The Outward Bound Trust (OBT)
  • 1963 – The Outward Bound school opens at Rhowniar
  • 1966 – The Duke of Edinburgh becomes Patron of Australian OBT
  • 1969 – The Duke of Edinburgh becomes Patron of OBT Canada
  • 1969 – The Duke of Edinburgh becomes Patron of OB International
  • 1980/90s – Outward Bound goes through a transition from providing only month long courses to develop shorter courses suitable for the modern world
  • 3 November 1999 – The Duke of York becomes Chairman of Trustees, OBT
  • 1999 – The Duke of York becomes Honorary International Trustee of OB International
  • 2001 – The Outward Bound Trust celebrates its Diamond Jubilee
  • 2005 – A new wharf is built at Aberdovey, the opening is attended by The Duke of Edinburgh
  • 2008 – A new Outward Bound centre at Howtown in the Lake District is opened by The Duke of York
  • 2011 – The Outward Bound Trust celebrates 70 years and over a million young people having attended courses since its founding
  • 2012 – The Duke of York leads our Trustees in a ground breaking fundraising event, 'The Descent of the Shard’, the longest ever civilian abseil, raising over £2.8million in one day for The Trust
  • 2015 – The Outward Bound Trust go into partnership with the The National Trust to open a new centre at Ogwen Cottage
  • 2016 – Repeating the success of The Shard, the City Three Peaks abseil raises over £2 million for The Trust
  • 2016 – The £3 million re-development of our Ullswater centre is completed and is visited by The Duke of Edinburgh.

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