AN aspiring engineer rubbed shoulders with royalty after striking gold on an adventure course.
Edward Allison was presented with his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award by Prince Philip.
The Queen’s husband even stopped to ask Edward about his future after seeing he was wearing a Merchant Navy Cadet uniform.
The excited 18-year-old had travelled from his Beaconsfield Square, Hartlepool, home to St James’s Palace, in London, to take part in the grand ceremony after months of hard work.
He is now looking forward to another challenge as he gets set to join the cruise liner Aurora as an Engineering Cadet for a transatlantic voyage with P&O Cruises.
The former Hartlepool Sixth Form College student said: “The Duke asked me about my future plans.
“He told me that as a former Royal Navy officer he was always pleased when he met young people who were making their careers at sea.”
Watching Edward receive his award was his proud granddad Derek Allison, a former Merchant Navy Officer who served as an engineer on board the Empire Orwell in the 1950s.
Derek, 79, of Beaconsfield Square, Hartlepool, said: “Going to sea as an engineering officer is a fantastic experience.
“Edward will see the world and the Merchant Navy Cadetship will enable him to gain qualifications and experience that he couldn’t hope to get anywhere else.”
Edward’s first cruise in three weeks time will see him head to the Baltic Sea before visiting the Mediterranean for the summer season.
After completing the summer cruises, he will join the Aurora, which calls at New York, in the USA, Nuuk, in Greenland, Reykjavik, in Iceland, and Alesund and Bergen, in Norway, before returning to Southampton.
Edward will then return to South Shield Marine College for another classroom-based phase of his cadetship.
The Merchant Navy Cadet scheme is a three-year program that leads to the internationally recognised qualification of watch keeping engineer.
Edward’s sponsoring company, Carnival UK, then guarantee all successful cadets a full-time position with one of the companies in the group, which includes both P&O and Cunnard.