Giving Voice

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Laughter in London

As the clocks move forward and Spring is in the air, I welcome you to my first post of 2017. Last week was a particularly exciting week for a pupil in one of the schools I work in. Jesse was invited to London as one of the finalists for Voice Box. He was delighted to be able to attend with his Mum and older sister to tell his joke in Speaker’s House at the Houses of Parliament.

Houses of Parliament before we went inside
Upon arrival at Portcullis House we passed through security and were greeted by a buzz of enthusiasm and excitement in the room. I’d tweeted a photo of Jesse travelling to London on the train, which had subsequently been re-tweeted by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT). Not long after we arrived a number of members of RCSLT staff came to say hello and told him they recognised him from Twitter, which really made his day.

At 12.30pm we were all greeted and shown to Speaker’s House, which involved a walk under the road and up a rather grand flight of stairs. At the top of the stairs we were given a name badge and informed that lunch was served. This allowed a nice opportunity to enjoy the surroundings and mingle with the other guests.

It was clear to see how excited everyone was though I’m sure there were lots of nervous butterflies fluttering around in tummies too. During lunch, there was a magician providing entertainment for the guests and was particularly popular with the children.

After lunch, we were called through to the main room ready for the children to tell their jokes. Nick Smith, MP for Blaenau Gwent, was Master of Ceremonies and he did a great job of keeping the day moving along. He welcomed each of the judging panel and it was lovely to see last year’s winner TJ was back to help choose the winning joke. Read more here about when he won last year. TJ told us his joke at the beginning of the day and then each of the other judges told a joke too.

All of the children were brilliant with a very high standard of jokes (the judges had a tough decision to make!) There were a range of jokes from children from around the country and it was great to see some MPs get up there with their constituents to tell a joke of their own.  

Once all the children had told their jokes we had a refreshment break while the judges made the important decision about the winner and runners-up jokes! We had the opportunity to chat with Ian Lavery, MP who came along to support Jesse.

Jesse and Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck
Photo Credit: Geoff Wilson

All of the children were presented with a goody bag and framed certificate and Kamini Gadhok, CEO of RCSLT congratulated everyone on reaching the final. Once all of the children received their goody bags the runners up and winner were announced.  It was a brilliant day and a fantastic opportunity for the children! To read Sam’s winning joke visit RCSLT’s Giving Voice website here.

On Friday morning, I received a telephone call from RCSLT informing me that BBC Radio Newcastle wanted to interview Jesse about his experience at Voice Box. Jesse was extremely excited about this opportunity and I went to his school on Friday afternoon so that the interview could be recorded via telephone. We both chatted to the presenter Jon and the interview went out on the Drive Time show on Friday evening. If you’d like to listen to the interview you can find it here (from 54:09) – it’s only available until Friday (07/04/17).

It’s been great to see lots of activity on Twitter, including tweets from RCSLT, BBC Radio Newcastle and Ian Lavery, MP.  More photos from the day can be found on the RCSLT Instagram and Twitter.

It was a brilliant day in London and it was lovely to hear Jesse say that the competition has led to him making more friends. We all thoroughly enjoyed the competition back in the Autumn term (read about it here) and Jesse getting to the final is fantastic.

I received lots of positive feedback about how much the children and teachers enjoyed Voice Box and we are all looking forward to taking part again. It’s a brilliant opportunity to celebrate language and how fun it can be!

Jesse's Mum, me, Jesse and his sister at Speaker's House
Photo Credit: Geoff Wilson

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