A team from Sheldon School in Chippenham was victorious on Thursday when they won the area heat of the Rotary Club’s Young Speakers competition.

Eighteen teams of three from Sheldon, Abbeyfield, Hardenhuish, St Laurence and Stonar schools took part in the competition at Melksham Oak Community School, which was split between intermediate level aged 11 to 14, and seniors from 15 to 18. The winners progressed to the district final in Bath, with the chance to go all the way to the national finals in Hull.

The senior event was won by St Laurence pupils Zoe Walters, Adam Baker and Joe Coombs, who spoke to the assembled crowd about “Siblings”. A team from Bradford on Avon’s St Laurence School won the intermediate competition.

The event was arranged and hosted by Graham Baskerville, of the Rotary Club of Chippenham. He said: “This was the very first round but the standard was absolutely fantastic this year, because we had a number of teams who were experienced from the previous years who had came up through the age ranges.

“The ability to speak in public is a skill which helps one’s career enormously, because if you can speak well you can present yourself well at interview.

“They gain an enormous amount of confidence, and although they were nervous beforehand some of the girls said they really enjoyed it afterwards.”