The Eastbourne Academy has won the fourth Ian Gow Cup school speaking competition for the first time in a close fought competition.
The school beat three-time winners Gildredge House into second place when six local schools went head-to-head at the Birley Centre in memory of Mr Gow, the town’s former MP, who was murdered by an IRA car bomb in 1990.
Third place went to Willingdon Community School.
The event, organised by former Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell, was again sponsored by solicitors Gaby Hardwicke and the guest of honour this year was local resident Lord Lucas.
Mrs Ansell said, “It takes courage to put yourself forward, to stand and speak, so in my book all these young people are winners and, as Dame Jane Gow, Ian’s widow, said when she was our special guest in 2016, how proud Ian would have been of them all.
“Thanks to all students for inspiring us and their teachers for their sterling support, the generosity of sponsors, the expertise of the speakers club, and hospitality of Eastbourne.
“Gaby Hardwicke will continue to sponsor this event so there will be a fifth Ian Gow Cup in 2019.”
Jeff Grace, the chief judge from the Eastbourne Speakers Club, said, “There are few learnable life skills that directly correlate to a person’s success as that of being able to speak well in public. It really was a privilege to witness these young people giving such strong performances. I’m sure there were more than just a few future big names in that room.”
Laurie Morgan, director of teaching at Eastbourne Academy, said, “Yet again, it was such a wonderful experience for Eastbourne Academy to be part of. Hearing our pupils, as well as those from the other local schools, deliver their take on democracy with such passion and confidence was astounding.”
Alastair Ewen from the winning Eastbourne Academy team said, “The experience of competing in the Ian Gow Cup for us has been life changing - this process has given us confidence and allowed us to have our views heard. We are so thrilled to have won and we really look forward to giving advice to those competing next year.”
Other schools which took part were Causeway School, St Catherine’s College and Eastbourne College.
Eastbourne Academy team members were Heather Whitmore, Alastair Ewen, Samantha Warrington; Gildredge House – Kelsey Dumstall, Lyra Ellwood, Olivia Mcgough; Willingdon Community School – Joshua Porter, Esther Foreman, Rosa Fardella;
Causeway School – Kristian Compton, Jasmine Lawson, Amber Rose Croft; Eastbourne College – David Udegbe, Dylan Pearson, Georgia Hutchon; and St Catherine’s College – Catherine Ruffell, Naomi Barrett, Sophia Pawley.