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Home > News and views > All good in Guildford – ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition!

All good in Guildford – ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition!

The Guildford Branch of the ESU is pleased to record another year of outstanding performances in the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition!

Three heats were held in the autumn, involving 17 teams and 10 schools.  The heats were well fought and five of the teams went on to the branch final at Guildford Cathedral on 8 February, 2023 – the first in-person branch final since 2020. Here, in the beautiful Lady Chapel, Calthorpe Park’s B team; St Catherine’s School’s A team; The Royal Grammar School’s A and B teams and St. Peter’s Catholic School’s A team kept the judges and the audience riveted as they presented their thoughts on topics such as:

  • ‘There is no sportsmanship in professional sports
  • ‘Fiction can teach us more than fact’
  • ‘Does patriotism cause destruction to international relations’
  • ‘CCTV is a threat to our freedom’ and
  • ‘Justice delayed should be justice denied’

The esteemed judging panel of The Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams (Chair), Mr Jesse Williams and Ms Sophia Taylor deliberated long and hard and agreed that the winning team was St Catherine’s, with Calthorpe Park as the worthy runners up. Prizes were also awarded to:

  • Best Speaker – St. Catherine’s
  • Best Chair – Calthorpe Park
  • Best Questioner – St. Catherine’s

The two winning teams will now compete at the regional final on Monday, 20 March at Churcher’s College, Petersfield, speaking on completely new topics.

The winner of the regional final will go on to compete in the grand final at Churchill College, Cambridge, in April.

The Guildford Branch committee would like to thank all the students who took part; their teachers; the Headteachers of these schools for supporting our competitions; the judges for being willing to give of their time and expertise; the timekeepers; the ESU team at Dartmouth House who organised the initial Zoom heats brilliantly and helped co-ordinate our branch final and finally, the Tipsy Pig company for catering at the final and Guildford Cathedral for offering us this beautiful venue.

Here’s hoping that even more schools participate next year and that our judging panel is increased by even more volunteers.

Our judges this year were:

·      The Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams

·      Mr Jesse Williams

·      Ms Sophia Taylor

·      Mrs Diane White

·      Ms Alison Tyndall

·      Mr Tim Bradley OBE

·      Mrs Barbara Kinnes

·      Mr James Palmer

·      Mrs Jo Russell

·      Mrs Davina Robinson

·      Mr Michael Goodridge


Michelle Williams/Jennifer Grace

Chair/Vice Chair

ESU Guildford and District



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