The second WFWP speech contest was held on Saturday 15th October in the Ball Room at Lancaster Gate, London. With nearly 50 people in the audience, seven speakers, and three judges, the room was almost full to capacity. Our judges were Mr Tim Miller, Rev. Kim Plumpton, Dr Christina Scharff and the theme for the finalists talk was 'Women making a Difference'.
Brenda Hodgson who was our MC for the event began by welcoming everyone, giving thanks to the contestants for their efforts to have come as far as the final, and introduced the judges. Before the competition began the event organiser Mrs Taeko Duckworth was introduced and asked to give her opening remarks. Taeko encouraged the finalists to do their best stating that as she Taeko herself is Japanese, speaking publicly in English is not easy, but with many years’ experience behind her is now a confident speaker. Taeko also thanked the judges for their time and the audience for coming to support the finalists.
The MC once again took to the stage to give a brief rundown of the competition rules before introducing the first speaker. Our finalists were Alicia Grayeb from Cornwall, Neelam Shah from South London, Valentine Nkoyo from Nottingham, Amy Brown from South London, Alice Tseng from Birmingham, Asma Ahmed from East London, and Sharon Kabubi from Cambridge.
After each contestant had finished their speech the judges asked a question relating to their talk and the answer given was also taken into consideration when deciding on a winner. After all the speakers had had their turn and it was time for the judges to go to a separate room to confer, whilst the audience had a chance to stretch their legs, and enjoy refreshments and bites to eat.
Everyone was back in the ballroom by 4pm for the judges’ announcements. There were prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Mr Tim Miller came on the stage to give a few positive remarks to the speakers and then announced the 3rd position should go to Amy Brown. Rev. Kim Plumpton was then called to the stage to announce that Sharon Kabubi had won 2nd place. That left Dr. Christina Scharff to go up and announce the winner of the 2016 WFWP Speech Contest as Valentine Nkoyo.
All three winners received money prizes and Valentine Nkoyo was also offered the opportunity as winner to speak at the WFWP European Conference in Bratislava, Slovakia in November. To much applause the winners posed with their winners certificates for photographs and there were many smiles and a few happy tears. It must be said that the afternoon was a huge success and once again we congratulate not only the winners but to all the finalists who took part.
by Brenda Hodgson
Director of WFWP UK