“Both the monarchy in general and King Edward VI in particular won out on Friday night” (16th March 2018) says Michael Fabricant.
“This year’s Michael Fabricant – Arthur Price of England Schools’ Speaking Competition which is run on Parliamentary lines in conjunction with the Rotary Club of St Chad and the City of Lichfield was historic in many ways. Firstly it was the 25th Anniversary of the Competition. And secondly, it was the only year where it had to be postponed for two weeks because of the snow – but the Schools and I wanted it to go ahead.”
The Competition’s original format was developed by Michael Fabricant on Parliamentary lines in conjunction with the late John Price, the then Managing Director and Chairman of Arthur Price of England, the renowned cutlers and silversmiths based in Lichfield. “I am delighted that John’s son, Simon Price, has carried on the tradition” says Michael. “They provide the cups, which are engraved with the winners’ names to be kept by the students and a larger cup to be held by the winning school for a year. The Rotary Club also provide a valuable service by providing the electronic time keepers, the certificates, one of the judges and coordinating the cup engraving. And the City of Lichfield provide the pomp and circumstance with the sword and mace bearers as well as refreshments at the interval. It’s a real team effort!
“This year we chose a particularly controversial – if not treasonous – motion: ‘That this House believes the British Monarchy should be abolished’.
“Two schools argued for the motion – that is, they supported the abolition of the monarchy – and three schools argued against. The Judges, of which I am not one!, awarded marks for the presentation of the speakers and not on whether or not they personally agreed with the arguments.”
The overall winning school team, who argued against the motion and for the retention of the monarchy, were from King Edward VI School in Lichfield. The opener was Jay Cara, the main proposer who also answered the judges’ questions was Jessica Sohl, and the student who summed up the arguments was Cian McDonagh.
The best speaker of the whole competition, who could have come from any of the schools participating , not just the winning team, was Jessica Sohl also from King Edward who plans to train as a doctor at Imperial in London.
“The other schools taking part, all of whom were superb so it was a difficult call for the judges, were John Taylor High School from Barton under Needwood, Lichfield Cathedral School, Erasmus Darwin Academy from Burntwood, and The Friary School from Lichfield.
“My thanks go to the brilliant students who participated and the hard working teachers who coached them and encouraged them on the night” adds Michael.
The photographs show the winning team and Best overall Speaker
left to right: Simon Price (Managing Director, Arthur Price of England), Cian McDonagh, Jessica Sohl, Jay Kara, Michael Fabricant MP, and Tim Wadsworth (President, Rotary Club of Lichfield St. Chad).
Photograph courtesy of Robert Yardley Photography
The original press release from Arthur Price of England announcing the first speaking competition 25 years ago.