Determined Scott strikes gold
ANYONE who has completed the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme will know how tough it is to achieve its gold standard.
The demanding physical and mental endurance test, which it provides, makes it an extremely difficult challenge for the fittest and most confident of young people.
And it makes the achievement of Tewkesbury's Scott Batchelor all the more impressive.
Despite being highly autistic, and having learning difficulties, the 20-year-old has gained the coveted gold award.
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And it happened even though he has health issues due to being overweight and having a liver condition he may have inherited from his late father.
Tragically, Keith Batchelor died aged 47 when Scott was just 10. An inquest found obesity-induced liver cirrhosis may have played a part in his death.
But Scott has delighted himself and his mother, Tina, by battling against the odds.
Over 20 months, he did voluntary work, sang in a charity concert and completed an expedition in the Forest of Dean and a cathedral camp in Chester.
He said: "At times, it was very difficult for me but with the support of my family, particularly my mum who encouraged me, I am absolutely thrilled and exhilarated at attaining the gold.
"I found the expedition hard as camping is not really my thing, but I persevered with encouragement. I met some really nice people and learned lots of new skills which otherwise I would not have done."
Scott added he had particularly enjoyed singing and would love to make it part of a future career. At the moment, he is doing a computer and life skills course at the Queen Alexandra College in Birmingham.
Back at his home in Monkey Meadow, Northway, mum Tina said: "After the adversity he's had in his life, I'm just so proud of him."