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Home > News and views > Louis Preston

Louis Preston


Louis joined the ESU aged 15, and went on to win the London regional final of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition that year. He credits the competition with giving him the skills that have allowed him to appear on BBC radio and which have contributed to his current career in TV. 

When did you join the ESU?
I joined in 2017 after an ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition heat in south London. The standard of competition was fantastic and I wanted to get involved.

What do you do for the ESU?
I am co-chair of the ESU Young Members Forum and am involved in judging and hosting various ESU competitions. In the past I have been fortunate enough to work as an oracy trainer in schools and to volunteer at Dartmouth House.

What words of advice do you have for other alumni/young members?
I was recently discussing with Ellen Punter – a fellow ESU member and judge – the importance of enjoying the journey itself. As young people, we have become used to experiencing instant gratification through technology and social media, but what the ESU offers is the foundations on which to steadily build and begin your journey in life – enjoy that.

Whom do you admire and why?
One of my biggest inspirations, not just in my ESU journey, but in my life, was a man called Paul Holleley. Paul organised and hosted countless ESU competitions and was, above all else, an incredibly selfless man, giving up his time to help young speakers like myself. I credit Paul as almost the sole reason behind the beginnings of my work with the ESU.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Doctor Who. Nothing else comes close.

Tell us something surprising about you.
I have a background in acting. I have performed in various plays and as a young teenager starred in a Nationwide Bank TV advert.

What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?
I thought long and hard about this question and in the end I was reminded of something Russell T Davies (a screenwriter for and producer of Doctor Who) once wrote: ‘When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all… grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.’

Find out more about how you can volunteer here.

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