Naomi and Charlotte earn girlguiding’s highest accolade

Date: Friday 8th December 2017
Charlotte Fabi receives an award from deputy chief guide Sally Illsley
Charlotte Fabi receives an award from deputy chief guide Sally Illsley

TWO inspirational young women from Penrith have risen to the challenge of achieving the highest award in girlguiding.

Naomi Johnston receives an award from deputy chief guide Sally Illsley.
Naomi Johnston receives an award from deputy chief guide Sally Illsley.

Naomi Johnston, aged 21, and Charlotte Fabi, aged 19, were each presented with their Queen’s Guide Award at the House of Commons by deputy chief guide Sally Illsley.

Physiotherapist and explorer Justine Gosling, whose adventures include a gruelling four-month, 5,000-mile expedition through 16 countries for charity, was in attendance to give the recipients an inspirational talk.

To achieve the prestigious award Naomi and Charlotte took on a series of personal challenges in areas such as social action, voluntary work and travel. Fewer than 150 young women out of the hundreds of thousands of girlguiding members are presented with the award each year and they have to complete their challenges before they turn 26.

Naomi, who is an assistant brownie and guide leader, took three years to finish her challenges. These included going on a four-day walking expedition and completing the British Canoeing one star kayak award. Naomi also volunteered at a camp for 50 brownies and this experience helped her to decide to become a primary school teacher as she wanted to “make a difference to children’s lives”.

Naomi said: “I have developed skills that without Queen’s Guide I wouldn’t have; such as the ability to plan complex expeditions, read maps and navigate in tricky weather conditions, as well as the capacity to work as a team and play to everyone’s strengths to achieve objectives.”

Charlotte, a brownie leader and member of the senior section, completed her award in a year. During that time she taught girls first aid in Tanzania, took on a four-day walking challenge in the North York moors and achieved her young leadership award with her brownie group.

Charlotte said: “I have become confident giving commands to a group and this will be beneficial for my future career as a physiotherapist. The Queen’s Guide Award has improved my confidence and leadership skills and will benefit my future.”

Justine, a former brownie and guide, spoke passionately about her own volunteering work; as an international emergency disaster responder in Haiti last year and helping to build shelters and school kitchens in Africa — alongside her day job as a physiotherapist on an intensive care ward and planning and undertaking polar expeditions.

She said: “It was an honour to attend the Queen’s Guide Awards and to meet the young women who have worked hard to complete the award and celebrate their achievements.

“I was proud to be invited to speak at the ceremony about my own charity adventures, the challenges I faced, and how I overcame these to achieve my goals.

“The best part was hearing all the different stories about each of the projects which have led these women to become such amazing role models.”

Sally said: “It was a real privilege to present these inspirational young women with their awards. Hearing about the challenges they overcame to complete their projects, and make a difference in their communities and beyond demonstrated true resilience and passion.

“Attaining the Queen’s Guide Award is no mean feat and they should be incredibly proud of their achievements. Congratulations to them all.”