Nobody could have failed to be impressed by the young people from all over Great Britain who competed in the Catenian Public Speaking Contest, recently held at the Manchester Conference Centre. All winners of regional competitions, they travelled from Liverpool to Leatherhead and Salisbury to Sheffield to contest for the prestigious winners’ title.

The eleven contestants from fifth and sixth form students in Catholic Education and subjects ranging from “Freedom is Never More Than One Generation to Extinction” to “Eccentrics Will Succeed in Life”, had five minutes each to make their point. The standard was exceptionally high, but the three judges were unanimous in choosing the winner.

Clare Aspray from Sacred Heart Catholic High School, Newcastle upon Tyne, came first, posing a question ‘Is it time to close food banks’. She successfully argued it was time for society to make them unnecessary. Lisa Hoerning from Torquay Girls Grammar School came second and Amelia Montiero from St Mary’s High School, Chesterfield third.

The trophy was presented by Roger Lillie, National President of the Catenian Association and all contestants received cash prizes provided through the Association’s sponsorship of the event.

The Catenian Association is a society of Catholic men, who join to provide mutual support to each other and their families lead by four F’s; Fun, Friendship Faith and Family. Local Circles exist in all areas of England, Wales, and Scotland and they welcome new members.

More details are available on their website: