On Friday night (28th February), The Erasmus Darwin Academy from Burntwood defeated 3 Lichfield Schools to scoop both prizes: Best Team and Best Individual Speaker in the Annual Michael Fabricant-Arthur Price of England Schools’ Speaking Competition. Tom Sullivan won the Best Individual Speak Prize and he and his team mates, Emily Whitchurch and Charlie Mathers won the Best Team Prize.
“The Competition is run on Parliamentary lines with the Mace Procession before proceedings, the waving of Order Papers and cheering (no clapping allowed!), and questions to the debaters”, says Michael Fabricant. “The debate was on whether voting at Parliamentary Elections should be made compulsory in law with penalties. King Edward VI and Netherstowe argued for while The Friary and the winning team argued against.
“All the schools were magnificent and some were very controversial about politics today. I was not a judge but was ‘Mr Speaker’ for the evening, but I gather it was a very close run thing. I personally agree with the winning team that forcing people by law to go out to vote is not a good idea, but that we should make politics exciting enough to motivate people to use their vote voluntarily.”
Prizes were awarded by Michael Fabricant and Simon Price, managing director of Arthur Price of England who also provided and engraved the cups. The Rotary Club of Lichfield St Chad provided the time-keepers and Keith Eagland, their Vice-President, was one of the judges alongside simon Price, Cllr Robert Awty (Mayor of Lichfield) and Cllr Terry Thomas (Sheriff of Lichfield).
The two photographs were taken by Allan Williamson. The winning team is on the front row in both.