REMARKABLE young people from across Thornbury and the wider area went head-to-head earlier this month in a special speaking competition.

The grand final of the Youth Speaks competition, run by Thornbury Rotary Club saw bright pupils from six primary schools, currently in years five and six, talk on a wealth of topics to impress judges and an audience of more than 70 people.

The eight finalists, the top picks from 58 entries, were judged by Inner Wheel president Joan Josey, Thornbury Rotary president Derek Baker and guest judge, Andrew Buckton, CEO of the Enable Trust, with Guy Rawlinson as MC for the evening.

The purpose of the competition is part of the Rotary Club’s involvement in serving the community where young people are helped to develop their confidence and potential, especially in the art of public speaking.

Subjects were varied and all eight finalists received a shield, certificate and cash prize.

The overall winner of the Ron Nicholas Memorial Cup was Emily Johnson of Stone with Woodford Primary School who gave an entertaining talk on straws and their impact on the environment.

Second place went to Hattie Davies of St Peter’s Pilning Primary School for her informative talk entitled ‘Which Came First: Chicken or the House?’ reflecting on the current housing crisis, and it’s particular impact on affordable housing for young people.

Third place went to Mabel Young, again from St Peter’s Pilning Primary School for her interesting and topical talk on Suffragettes.

The judges said how impressed they were with all the presentations from the winners and other finalists.

The other speakers included Beatrice Wiggins, talking about Scoliosis, and Emma Johnson, talking about JK Rowling and Harry Potter, both from Christ the King School Primary School, Charis Davies’ talk on Dachshund Hounds from Almondsbury Primary School and Tockington Manor School pupil Anna Baber’s topic on the Seaton Tramway.

The list of finalists concluded with Olveston Primary School’s Rhys Surman talking about WWII ‘Operation Market Garden’ and Jacob Bray from Stone with Woodford Primary School talking about Hedgehogs.