A COACH at Wrexham Fencing Club has been praised after he earned a top national award for voluntary work.

David Charles-Hendy, who attends the Bishops’  High School in Boughton Heath, Chester, received his gold award in the Duke of Edinburgh scheme at a ceremony in London earlier this week.

David, 17, of Appleton Drive, Whitby, Ellesmere Port, has taken part in a variety of initiatives to obtain the title, including fencing, training as an air cadet, engaging in the performing arts and mentoring younger children.

He said: “Three years ago I had to choose an activity for my Duke of Edinburgh award. My school had just started a sword fencing club so I decided to give it a go.

“Eventually my coach Valerijs Shchipanovs, who is an ex-Olympic coach, encouraged me to enter a national and later an international fencing competition where I fought some of the UK’s top fencers.

“I regularly spend two to three nights a week working on my fencing and frequently travel at the weekends to enter competitions all around the country.

“Last year as a result of my hard work I won a medal in The Much Wenlock Olympic Games and recently broke into the Senior UK foil rankings.

“I now referee competitions and coach at the Wrexham Fencing Club and in my school while studying for my fencing coach’s certificate.”

He added: “As a corporal in the Air Training Corps I had many adventures including flying, shooting and coming face to face with an SAS assault team in the middle of a forest on a pitch black night armed only with just my trusty torch and a map.”

David also had a speaking role in the Chester Mystery Plays.

“I performed in front of thousands of people giving me the opportunity of working with professional directors including Matt Baker,” he said.

“I received a Your Champion of the Year Award in recognition for my voluntary work in mentoring younger children in my school which also went towards my gold award.

“I have always enjoyed a challenge even as a Cub Scout when I set my mind to get all the badges available to me which I managed with the help of my leader.

“The lessons I learnt during that time have motivated me to help others to go out and achieve things for themselves.”