Rising stars of UKIP’s youth wing have been recognised and rewarded in the return of an annual public speaking competition.
The Seymour Shield, created by the party’s Transport spokesman Jill Seymour, gives members of Young Independence the chance to deliver a three-minute speech on a topic of their choice.
This year’s winner was 23-year-old Chris Vaughan from Portsmouth – who went one better than last year, when he finished as runner-up.
Chris, originally from Rotherham, spoke on his vision for the future of UKIP in the competition, which was held on the second day of the party’s Bournemouth conference.
In addition to the shield and £100 prize money, Chris got the chance to deliver a closing conference speech to delegates in the main UKIP hall.
Jill, who is co-president of Young Independence, said: “These people are the key to the future of our party, and that’s why I’m keen to give them as much support as I possibly can.
“I hope that the Seymour Shield will, in some small way, encourage more people to come on board and show the true talents of our young people.”
Speakers were judged on the presentation, content and delivery of their presentations by a panel which included UKIP MEPs Tim Aker and Jim Carver.
Runner-up was Charlie Amos, 17, from East Grinstead in Sussex, while third place went to Stuart McKluckie, 20, who is studying business law in the Scottish city of Stirling.
Topics chosen by the speakers ranged from freedom of speech to civil liberties, the energy market, and grammar schools.
Jill said: “Standing up and speaking in public can be incredibly daunting, but the quality of the content, and delivery of the presentations from the Young Independence members this year was exceptional.”
Young Independence chairman James Ross-McKenzie added: “We are really grateful for the support which we receive from Jill, and the opportunity that this gives us to demonstrate the independent minds we have in YI.”