New fundraising event launched to mark Duke of Edinburgh's birthday

The Do It 4 Youth event will see people across the UK take part in a four-week challenge.

A fundraising challenge is being launched to mark what would have been the Duke of Edinburgh’s 100th birthday.

The Do It 4 Youth event will see people across the UK take part in a four-week challenge similar to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a scheme set up by Philip in 1956.

The challenges are called Get Up, Skill Up, Free Up and Hand Up. Get Up sees people doing a physical challenge, Skill Up involves learning a new skill, Free Up sees people giving up something such as junk food and Hand Up sees people helping their communities.

The fundraiser, which launches on June 10, is backed by celebrities who are dubbed “team captains” for the event.

They include Strictly star and former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers, Paralympian Hannah Cockroft, The Vamps guitarist James McVey, broadcaster Alice Beer, TV presenters Matt Johnson and Zoe Salmon, Harry Potter star Oliver Phelps and Strictly dancer Johannes Radebe.

Each captain is paired with a Duke of Edinburgh Award holder and the pair are responsible for encouraging others to take part.

Money raised will go towards helping young people from tough backgrounds.

Edinburgh-born Chalmers, 33, told the PA news agency he is taking part as a way to try to encourage people to keep giving back to their communities.

Strictly star and former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers who is taking part in the Do It 4 Youth event
Strictly star and former Royal Marine JJ Chalmers who is taking part in the Do It 4 Youth event (Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Duke of Edinburgh’s Award/PA)

He said: “Over the past year and a bit we’ve really come to appreciate what is important and who we need to look after. That’s what the beauty of this challenge is. It’s quite simple, it’s to do something for yourself and do something for others.

“When we talk about getting back to normal after this pandemic, I don’t want that stuff to stop. I’m happy to stop the Zoom meetings but the really nice stuff, appreciating the people around you and helping one another, that should stay.”

Chalmers, who now lives in Dunfermline, added he has started trying to re-learn how to tie knots as part of his challenge following the injuries he received while undertaking a tour of Afghanistan in 2011.

“It’s something I did many years ago when I was in the Marines. Since then, I’ve forgotten most of them and my hands have changed significantly in that time,” he said.

Paralympian Hannah Cockroft is taking part
Paralympian Hannah Cockroft is taking part (Duke of Edinburgh’s Award/PA)

“I was tying my daughter Hayley’s hair and really struggling to get the bobble in the end. And I was like, ‘I used to be really good at this kind of stuff’. So I’ve got to work myself with a little bit of rope.”

He said while he does not have a specific knot in mind he would like to master, he wanted to be able to do his four-year-old daughter’s hair.

“If I get a really nice plait and get the bobble in there without it unravelling, that’s the one that sits on the golden pedestal for me,” he added.

The challenge is open to anyone including those who have never done the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

People can choose their own start date from June 10 but must complete it by September 30 2021.

To sign up, visit: www.dofe.org/doit4youth

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