AROUND 2,000 youngsters across Oldham have taken part in the 34th Oldham Primary School Choral Speaking Festival.

The festival which took place at Oldham Coliseum Theatre is designed to help children aged from four to 11 years increase their enjoyment of poetry, develop self-confidence and their ability to speak in public.

It also aims to build community cohesion by bringing together schools and performers from across the borough.

The Choral Speaking Festival was initiated by Oldham Metro Rotary Club in 1985 with support from the town’s teachers and Oldham Education Department. It was opened by Oldham mayor Cllr Shadab Qumer.

Adjudicator Ann Warr said: “Standards rise year on year – the children were great, the teachers are to be commended, and Oldham can be proud of staging such a fantastic festival.”

Children from the following schools won trophies: Infant Trophy – Freehold Community Primary Academy Year 2 Cerise for A Few Frightening Things by Clare Bevan; The Dinosaurs Diner by June Crebbin. Special commendation - St Hugh’s Primary School for On the Nang Nong by Spike Milligan; Daddy Fell into the Pond by Alfred Noyes.

Lower Junior Trophy - Freehold Community Primary Academy Year 3 Lime for There’s a Dinosaur Behind You by Graham Denton; The Sandwich by Tony Bradman. Special commendation - Christ Church (Chadderton) KS2 for Sick by Shel Silverstein; the4 Tin Can Band by Brian Merrick.

John Cleary Trophy – Springhead Infant and Nursery School Year 2 for The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear; Chocolate Cake based on the poem by Michael Rosen. Special commendation – Richmond Academy Year 4 for The Chase by L A Johnson; Fiddleitis by Andy Tooze.

Audrey Carter Trophy (Open) – St Matthew’s CE Primary School for Fight of the Year by Roger McGough; Un Coeur Pour Aimer from St Valentine. Special commendation – Failsworth Primary School Year 1 for Oh, What is in that Little Box? By Gervase Phinn; something in my Welly by Gareth Lancaster.

Madelein Lindley Trophy – Delph Primary School Year 2 for Sick by Shel Silverstein; Caged Bird by Maya Angelou. Special commendation – Christ Church (chadderton) KS2 for Rapunzel by Ken Nesbitt; Heaven by Steve Turner.

Upper Junior Trophy – Higher Failsworth Primary School year 5 for I Want to be Bad by Paul Cookson; The Rescue by Robert Fisher.