Youngsters from across Shropshire came together for a debating competition at University Centre Shrewsbury- with the winning team successfully arguing for a second referendum to be held before Britain officially leaves the EU.
The event was organised by the Debate-Ed programme, which is run by Holly Edwards, a trainee solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors who sponsor the programme.
A total of 40 students from Years 7 to 9 from Meole Brace School, Prestfelde School, Moreton Hall and Wrekin College took part, with judges praising the high quality of all entrants.
The winning team was made up of Barney Cansdale and Louis Harris from Meole Brace School, and special awards were given to Eli Jones, who was awarded the best speaker prize, Barney Cansdale, who was the second best speaker and Emma Vivian from Moreton Hall who came third.
Special mention was also made of Finn Pearson who narrowly missed out on a best speaker prize.
The day was supported by numerous staff from Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors, including Brian Evans, the firm’s managing partner.
He said: “Public speaking skills are really important and many adults find it daunting, so to see the students throwing themselves into the debating competition was very encouraging.
“The confidence that competitions like this give students, along with the opportunity to develop their analytical and speaking skills, is one of the principal reasons why Lanyon Bowdler have supported the Debate-Ed project since its inception.”
The prestigious judging panel also included Judge Tindal, Mayor of Shrewsbury Councillor Ioan Jones, Martin James of Greenhous and Young Enterprise Shropshire, and Amanda Moorghen from the English Speaking Union.
Judge Jim Tindal said: “I was really impressed by the confidence, fluency and mental agility of the still quite young children that took part in the debating competition. I am sure they have very bright futures ahead of them.”
Councillor Jones added: “I was amazed at the high standard of debating and the confidence shown by all the young people who took part in the competition, also the good spirit in which the competition was held.
“I would like to pass on my congratulations to all the teams and especially the team from Meole Brace School the eventual winners.”
Students from Shrewsbury Sixth Form College also formed part of the judging panel which was a great opportunity for them to develop their skills.
Joshua Prior, of Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, said: “Debate-Ed has been such a fun way of teaching students how important being able to debate is and has helped me share my love of debating.”
For more information about the Debate-Ed project, visit the website at www.debate-ed.co.uk