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Young public speakers are off to London for national public speaking contest

First published on: 17th October 2023

A remarkable gathering of 18 young people from different Anglican dioceses in Yorkshire, took centre stage at St. Margaret's Church, Ilkley, on Saturday in a national public speaking competition.

The Cranmer Awards is a national competition run by the Prayer Book Society to introduce 11 to 18-year-olds to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, described as the "bedrock of the Anglican Church".  Named after the great English Reformer Thomas Cranmer, the awards encourage young people to develop their public speaking skills by reading a passage of their choice from The Book of Common Prayer.

The Yorkshire Regional Heat Senior Section was won by Roseanna Williams of St Margaret’s Church Ilkley, and the Junior Section was won by Nelson Adewale of the Bishop Young CE Academy in Leeds (pictured), who each received a prize of £50.

“It was a new and different experience because I have never spoken to a large audience before,” Nelson said afterwards.

“I was nervous in the beginning but I became braver throughout. I am very happy and proud that I won and I am very much looking forward to going to London, as I have never been.” 

Judges, Fr Alexander Crawford, vicar of St Margaret's; Fr David Hope – Baron Hope of Thornes, and Nigel Pearson,  Prayer Book Society Chester Branch (pictured) were all impressed by the fluency, composure and speaking skills of all the participants. Catherine Cheater, heat organiser, was delighted that so many young people from across Yorkshire had worked so hard to prepare for the event in Ilkley.

Fr. Alex said, "I would like to thank everyone for taking part and congratulate every entrant on their efforts.  Judging between them was no easy task.  It was wonderful to see young people from a variety of backgrounds come together to recite these beautiful texts that have inspired our ancestors for generations.”

Roseanna and Nelson will both advance to the national final which takes place on February 24,2024 at Hampton Court.

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