On January 30th, Cranleigh once again hosted the first round of ‘Youth Speaks’, a public speaking competition against other schools in the area organised by the local Rotary Club. Mr. Patrick LeRotary Public speaking.NEWSake, a former president of the Rotary Club, presided over the afternoon. With the current president seated in the audience, and the event being held in the august venue that is the Reading Room, there was certainly a sense of occasion to the afternoon.

Two intermediate teams were entered by Glebelands School, the first speaking on whether education ought to be free for all, and the second proposing that youth is not wasted on the young, while our own line-up – Cubitt’s winning team from the internal public speaking competition last term – argued, perhaps more esoterically, as to why aliens exist.

All three teams acquitted themselves very ably. The second Glebelands team, who in a tight contest were put through to the next round, showed particular zest for the question at hand. A mention is certainly due to our team as well – Cameron Scheijde gamely stepped in at the last minute as main speaker, and Toby Chesser turned in a magnificent comic performance in his proposal of the vote of thanks, while Theo Golden chaired the meeting with authority and conviction.

Victory came for our senior boys, with a compelling speech from Angus McConnell-Wood on why a greater proportion of the government’s budget should be spent on the armed forces. He, along with chairman Charlie La Fosse and proposer of the vote of thanks Matt Foster, will be speaking in the next round of the competition on February 14th, which I for one am eagerly anticipating.