A fourteen-year-old student from Rutlish School has won the Merton Regional Final of Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” challenge.

Calum Thorne scooped the top prize of a £100 gift certificate and a chance to go through to the Grand Final of the competition to be held at the Cambridge Theatre in Covent Garden on July 2.

Calum, who attends the Watery Lane school, impressed the judges with a winning speech entitled “You can do it?” where they talked about the importance of art subjects in schools.

Asked about the training and the competition he said: “It’s baffling, so many awesome speakers and kind people. I can’t believe it.

“It feels like I’ve grown so much.

“Thank you to Sir Jack Petchey. A message to everyone ‘You can do it!”

Students came together at Ricards Lodge High School, Lake Road, Wimbledon and competed to become the Merton’s “Speak Out” Challenge! Champion.

More than 435, Year 10 students in Merton’s state secondary school received a one-day public speaking and communications workshop.

During the course, students were given the skills and the confidence to develop and deliver a competition speech on a topic important to them.

Second place went to Serena, 15, from Ursuline High School, Crescent Road, Wimbledon with her speech "Coltran" with third place going to Scarlett Dalton, 14 from Harris Academy Morden, Lilleshall Road, with her speech, "The causal feminist".

The Mayor of Merton, Cllr Marsie Skeete who presented the awards said: “A lovely evening and very inspiring. The speeches were mind boggling as it gets you thinking.

“The young people are our future and we have to listen to them more.”