Friday 22 June 2018
Solent University alum Gus McKechnie was chosen to present the Duke of Edinburgh gold award to 50 young achievers at the recent presentation event at Buckingham Palace gardens. Other presenters included comedian David Mitchell, McFly’s Tom Fletcher, gardener Alan Titchmarsh, and BBC and ITV news presenters.
Gus says: “I loved presenting the young people their awards – it’s usually only the royal family that gets that privilege at the palace. To be called an inspiration by people who don’t know me was a pretty special feeling.
“Overall, it was a nerve racking but memorable experience. My dad, who’s a Warsash alum, had visited the palace before when he got his OBE, but it was something I missed out on. Getting to experience the gardens and tea room was something else – I was nervous I was going to break the Queen’s china when having a coffee!”
Gus, who graduated from BA (Hons) Business Management in 2001 and administered the Duke of Edinburgh awards as a student volunteer co-ordinator at Solent, was invited to present after the event organisers read about some of his previous sporting challenges.
Despite having cerebral palsy, Gus has cycled 105,000 miles on a static bike, rowed the distance around the Isle of Wight on a rowing machine, and completed 11 marathons, most recently the ABP Marathon in Southampton. He is currently preparing for the Great North Run and trekking through Nepal later this year.