Rutherford's Youth Speaks

Rutherford's Youth Speaks winning team The Leys go on to win both District and Regional Finals in 2022

The Leys School wining team with Anna Garrett, Head of English

Pictured above from left: Anna Garrett, Head of English, with Georgia Dudley, Ellie Martin and Sienna Hammond with the Regional Final trophy (photo by Steve Gardner)

The Leys School continued their success (see original report below) by winning both Regional and District Finals. The latter held on 23 April 2022 at Stamford against very strong teams from St Albans Girls' School and Stamford High School.  

Miss Anna Garrett, Head of English at The Leys, commented "We are so proud of our team who retained the same winning formula of eloquence, humour and teamwork as they did at the start of the competition at Impington in November 2021"

Michael Hellowell, Chairman of Rutherford's Vocational Committee said "Getting this far in the competition was a remarkable achievement, and when The Leys team was announced victorious, we, the team, the teacher, and all parents present were absolutely thrilled. The only sadness was the late cancellation of the 2021-22 Rotary National Final planned to follow at NEC Birmingham. However, our team from The Leys enjoyed their wonderful experience at Stamford and will now remain completely unbeaten!"


Youth Speaks took place at Impington Village College on 25 November 2021 with 60 people attending, including competitors. The number attending was good to see given some restrictions on the event due to the pandemic.  

There were four teams competing namely (with their topics):

  • Impington Village College  –  “A post human future might be better for all of us”
  • Hills Road Sixth Form College  –  “Homelessness and poverty must be solved before space exploration is opened up”
  • The Leys School  –  “The institution of marriage is outdated”
  • The Perse School  –  “Is our function as human beings purely to exist, or must we have a purpose in life?”

HCR Hewitsons sponsored the event, but unfortunately Christian Firmin from Hewitsons was unable to attend due to Covid-19. So the three judges were Chris Elliott (Chairman this year) ex Guardian Readers’ Editor, who has been a judge for a few years; Chris Delf member and former President of Bury St Edmunds Speakers’ Club; and Paul Breen (yes, our very own Secretary, who at the last minute stood in for Mr Firmin).

The evening was introduced by Richard Morris and the four teams gave a good account of themselves. Refreshments then followed, which were excellent. Meanwhile the judges had retired to consider all they had heard. Upon their return, after comments upon the various performances, the worthy winners were declared as The Leys School (photo above) with their topic – “The institution of marriage is outdated”.

Well done to the Vocational Service Committee led by Richard Stonebridge for such an excellent event. Our thanks go to Hewitsons and Impington Village College for their help in making this year’s Youth Speaks such a success.


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The Leys School wining team with Anna Garrett, Head of English

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