House of Commons Speaker to visit Eastbourne

Caroline Ansell and John Bercow
Caroline Ansell and John Bercow

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow will be visiting Eastbourne this week.

The well known politician is to be guest of honour at former MP Caroline Ansell’s third annual Ian Gow Memorial Cup schools public speaking competition on Thursday.

The announcement is a boost to the event for year 9 students set up in memory of the town’s former MP Ian Gow who was murdered by the IRA in 1990.

Mrs Ansell said, “To have such a well-known public figure here in Eastbourne is great news for the competition which continues to go from strength to strength.

“The cup is an opportunity for young people in Eastbourne schools to engage in political debate, hone important public speaking skills and hopefully become the next generation of politicians and public figures.

“It’s also an event which attracts notable names to judge it. In the first year, it was broadcaster David Dimbleby and last year Dame Jane Gow was involved, so it shows that this is something everyone feels has real merit.”

Mrs Ansell paid tribute to local solicitors Gaby Hardwicke for sponsoring the event again this year.

She said, “We would not have a competition without the generous support of Gaby Hardwicke.”

This year, the Ian Gow Memorial Cup moves from the Winter Garden to the Birley Centre in Carlisle Road. It will take place on Thursday (October 19) at 5pm and is open to the public.

Eastbourne Speakers Club will take their lead role once again in judging entries alongside John Bercow.

Last year, Gildredge House won for the second time in a hard-fought battle.