Local Politicians in Listening Mode

Public speaking competition at local school

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Jon Ball Mel Giedroyc and Rupa Huq




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Opposition candidates Jon Ball (Lib Dem) and Rupa Huq (Labour) were no doubt hoping to pick up a pointer or two (and maybe even some baking lessons) when they were invited to a public speaking competition in Ealing.

Notting Hill and Ealing High School hosted the Chrystall Prize for Public Speaking on Friday 6th March.

GCSE students from throughout the country were joined by local politicians and media celebrities.

The year 11 girls spoke on a variety of topics including freedom of speech, party politics and feminism.

Former student Dr Rupa Huq, the Labour candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, attended the secondary school in the St Stephens area of west Ealing from 1983-1990. Her sister, the BBC’s Konnie Huq, and a fellow ex-pupil, was also present.

A host of celebrity judges, Mel Giedroyc (writer and performer, but best known for The Great British Bake Off), Sarah Montague (journalist and Radio 4 presenter) and Rageh Omaar (International Affairs Editor at ITV), presided over the event.

The final year GCSE students were given seven minutes to talk on their allocated subject and then grilled by their peers, teachers, parents and candidates for a further three minutes.

Dr Huq said:

''In the week of World Book Day and International Women’s Day it was great to be back. The standard of speeches was extremely high and the whole experience was quite humbling. It was easy to forget that these accomplished young women are just 15 and 16 years old. The judges were great too, their comments were witty and thoughtful.''

Fellow PPC for Ealing Central and Acton, Jon Ball, added : "I was impressed by the excellent standard of all the contestants, not only delivering their speeches with aplomb but also confidently fielding questions. I'm sure all of them have the skills to opt for a political career in years to come if they wish. The Notting Hill and Ealing head girl and her team did an excellent job, ensuring the event ran smoothly and keeping everything to time.''

The winner Annie Thorpe of Bromley High School took home a book token for the value of £100 for her talk, “Are we spinning out of control?”


17th March 2015