Since last autumn, hundreds of children have taken part in Voice Box – a joke-telling competition for schools in Scotland, England and Wales.
Pupils from East Renfrewshire swept the boards, being the only area to see two entrants make it through to the final at Speaker’s House, in Westminster, on March 29, and one of them walked away the winner!
Sam Harrison, 10, who attends Giffnock Primary School, won the top prize – an iPad mini – and delighted the packed audience of politicians, parents and children with his brilliant joke about wide-mouthed frogs eating small boys. Sam’s delivery was pitch perfect and he had the audience in the palm of his hand.
Before the final Sam said: “I am very excited about telling my joke in Parliament, I did not think I would make it this far.”
When asked what he would like to be when he grows up, Sam replied: “I would like to be an architect if I don’t become a professional footballer!”
Sam was joined at the final by another East Renfrewshire joker - Colm Donnelly from Newton Mearns.
Colm, age 10, who attends St Cadoc’s Primary School, also had the audience in stitches when he told his joke.
Colm, who was presented with a Voice Box finalist certificate, said he had been both nervous and excited about telling his joke at Parliament.
When asked what he would like to be when he grows up, Colm replied: “I would like to be an inventor.”
Voice Box is an annual competition, organised by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and partnered by The Communication Trust. It aims to remind people that there are children in every classroom who need support to help them speak and understand what is being said to them.
Kirsten Oswald, MP for East Renfrewshire, said: “It was wonderful for East Renfrewshire to have had two such talented representatives in the finals of this year’s Voice Box competition.
“Both boys performed exceptionally well, telling their jokes with confidence and bringing roars of laughter from the audience. Their jokes were excellent, but I think the visual storytelling that Sam used in his performance was what appealed to the judges so much.
“Voice Box is a wonderful competition that raises awareness of a very serious issue while bringing people together through laughter.
“As a politician, speaking and listening is a vital part of my life and I really value the work done by teachers and speech and language therapists to enable others, including children, to communicate more easily”.