Even though he suffers from high functioning autism, Liam O’Dell of Stopsley has won a gold Duke of Edinburgh award.
The former Luton Sixth Form College student went to St James’s Palace on Monday to collect his certificate and said he was knocked out by the royal Wow! factor.
“When you get inside it’s all posh and really fancy,” he said. “It was an amazing experience.
“I spoke to Prince Edward twice and shook hands with Phil Brown, the 1984 Olympic 4x400m relay silver medalist.”
He added: “Doing the award had a huge impact on my life. It was very, very challenging but it was something I actually enjoyed and I learned a lot of life skills.
“It’s hard in the beginning but towards the end it gets easier and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to make a difference.”
Liam, 23, took a degree in sports studies at Southampton Solent and is working as a personal trainer at Pure Gym in Skimpot Road.
His gold award has helped him train clients to push towards their personal goals.
His ultimate aim it to run his own business.