Youth role model is awarded an MBE

CHARLES Black has been awarded an MBE for services to young people through the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in Edinburgh.
Mr Black after receiving his award at Buckingham Palace. Picture: PAMr Black after receiving his award at Buckingham Palace. Picture: PA
Mr Black after receiving his award at Buckingham Palace. Picture: PA

Born in 1943 and brought up in Colinton Mains, Charles attended Craiglockhart Primary School before going on to George Heriot’s.

At the age of 18 he started work with Royal Insurance, 13 George Street, where he enjoyed four years of thorough training before being transferred to the company’s Liverpool headquarters, where he spent a further four years.

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He then returned to Edinburgh and after a brief spell at the Probation Service he joined Scottish Widows in 1970.

He worked for the firm in numerous roles for 26 years before taking early retirement in 1996.

Charles’ involvement with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme (DofE) began when he was 14. The scheme was launched in 1956 and before the end of the pilot period in 1958 Charles had started his Bronze Award with the Boys’ Brigade. The impact of working through Bronze, Silver and Gold levels during his impressionable years, achieving Gold in 1961, inspired him to continue his involvement with the scheme, particularly during the last 20 years.

As a lieutenant with 53rd Edinburgh Company of the Boys’ Brigade and one in the Liverpool area, Charles encouraged others to take up the Duke of Edinburgh challenge.

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On his return to Edinburgh in 1970, he became involved once again with DofE in a non-uniformed capacity with local Scouts at Greenbank Church where his own two sons attended.

In the meantime there was an association of Edinburgh Gold Award Holders who were quite active over many years both socially and liaising with other Gold Associations in the UK and abroad. At the beginning of 1990s DofE started an initiative in business, which resulted in Charles becoming leader of a small group of Gold Award entrants at Scottish Widows. This in turn led him to work more closely with DofE Scottish Award Office, through a range of working parties, initiatives and committee roles. More recently he started on sorting archive records.

Since 2000 he has spent considerable time assisting Friends of the Award, a charity which promotes DofE with 14 to 23-year-olds, throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians. They work closely with the city council in targeting less-advantaged young people, often from socially deprived backgrounds. He signs off all levels of Awards (more than 600 last year) on behalf of the council as well as being a qualified expedition assessor.

Charles was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and he collected it at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday .He said: “It is a privilege to be involved in a programme for young people which has such a profound benefit at a character building age.”