Many in the audience at the Barnstaple Hotel remembered the saying "Children should be seen and not heard" but young students taking part in the Rotary "Youth Speaks'" competition were the exception, giving their views on topics ranging from global warming, obesity, farmers wives, the Lottery and even the evils of soap!

The students, from local North Devon schools, were competing in the annual Barnstaple heat of the Rotary "Youth Speaks" competition at Intermediate and Senior level organised by the Barnstaple Rotary Club. In teams of three they showed their skills in public speaking to an enthralled audience of over 100, with the winners going forward to the next stage.

Students from the Pilton Community College, Park Community School, St Michael's Tawstock, North Devon College and West Buckland School took part in the hope of talking their way through to the regional final at Blundells school in Tiverton on the 3rd of March.