A Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy student was given a tour of the House of Lords as part of her prize for winning a city-wide public speaking competition for schools.

Natasha Coyle, 16, was the overall winner of the Chris Williamson Public Speaking Trophy, with two of her fellow students, Euan Harrison, 15 and Dominic Gordon, 14, also making the final.

Three students from Saint Benedict CVA, were among 12 students from schools across the city who made it to the final and had to deliver a speech from Speakers’ Corner in the city centre to a panel of judges.

Natasha was named the overall winner and her prize was a trip to London with her mum, where she met MP Chris Williamson (pictured below with Natasha) and was given a tour of the House of Lords.

She said: “I didn’t realise how close it was to the House of Commons which is quite plain and small in comparison. It was really interesting; we got to look in the Commons when there was a debate going on. We also went into the Labour office and met some MPs from different constituencies.

“Everyone was really nice and saying I’d done really well to win the prize. We went to Westminster Hall too. I stood where Emily Wilding hid during the 1911 census and that was quite emotional for me, thinking about the fact that women are able to vote now because of the suffragettes.”

Natasha and her mum also saw some of the sights in London and did some shopping before heading home.

She said: “I’m interested in politics anyway so this was trip was great. I think it’s really important for young people to be engaged and it’s about getting young people interested in politics whatever end of the spectrum they are. I think it’s really important.”

Natasha in London 1