CHESTERFIELD: Netherthorpe pupil Beatrice Soakwell wins schools’ public speaking contest

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President Jim Haggarty presided at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Chesterfield, which was held at the Olde House, Newbold. It was the final of the Chesterfield Schools’ Public Speaking Competition, which was the highlight of the club’s annual Ladies Day.

President Jim Haggarty presided at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Chesterfield, which was held at the Olde House, Newbold. It was the final of the Chesterfield Schools’ Public Speaking Competition, which was the highlight of the club’s annual Ladies Day.

The president welcomed president Adrienne Handley and the members of the Chesterfield Inner Wheel Club, wives of Rotarians, his personal guests Ivan Barlow and Janet Wood, Stuart and Joan Whitby, who were guests of Rtn Rob Wadd, Netherthorpe head, Alan Senior and the school’s head of English, Tracey Robson, and former deputy head Chris Townsend. He also reported that due to the bad weather a number of other guests had had to send their apologies.

Organiser of the public speaking competition, past president Bryan White, introduced the finalists who were: Laura Norman and Beatrice Soakell from Netherthorpe School, and Hannah Rodger from St Mary’s High School. Finalist Leroy Wagstaffe of Hasland Hall Community School was unable to attend due to illness. The speeches were amusing, original and delivered with impressive confidence.

Whilst the votes were counted, the former deputy head teacher of Netherthorpe School, Chris Townsend, who is now retired, entertained with a witty talk on his involvement with this annual Rotary competition over the last 38 years.

The winner of the competition was judged to be Beatrice Soakwell, on the topic of grandparents, and was awarded the first prize and trophy. Congratulations were also given to the two runners-up for delivering well-prepared speeches in a closely fought competition of the highest calibre.

President Jim Haggarty thanked the schools and the teachers for their support and for their work in preparation for the competition. He also thanked Hasland Hall Community School for kindly hosting the preliminary finals. President of the Inner Wheel Club of Chesterfield, Adrienne Handley, thanked the Rotary Club on behalf of all ladies and guests present for an excellent event.

The president reported that with others he had attended the charter celebrations of the Rotary Clubs of Dronfield at Ringwood Hall, and Matlock at St Elphin’s Hall, Darley Dale. Rtn Rob Wadd reported that the finance and resources committee had decided it was not possible to hold a grand national draw this year. He also gave an update on the current initiative to recruit new members from those nearing retirement and invited anyone interested to contact past president Alan Clarke on 01246 811616.

There is no club meeting tomorrow (Good Friday) so the next meeting is on Friday, April 5, when the guest speaker is Roy Tress on ‘The Battle of Vimiero’. Speaker host is Geoff Mitchell and duty Rotarian Nigel Metham.