The Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, William Hay MLA is searching for young comic geniuses to compete in the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) joke telling contest when it returns to Parliament Buildings at the start of April.
Entries for the annual Voice Box Awards are now open. RCSLT Country Councillor Anne Gamble and reigning champion Conor Heaveron of St Canice’s Primary School, Dungiven are encouraging local pupils to apply.
Pupils from across Northern Ireland are welcome to submit their best jokes. The most humorous submissions will be selected for the final which will be held in Parliament Buildings on April 1 and where one lucky winner will take the title of Voice Box Champion and win an iPad 2.
Launching the competition, the Speaker William Hay MLA said: “Speaking and communication play a huge part in the day to day life of the Assembly and I am very keen that we provide a platform to highlight the speech and language difficulties that many people face. It is particularly important that we give all of our children and young people the support, encouragement and recognition they deserve.
The Speaker continued: “I often see in the Assembly chamber that humour can be an effective way of putting a point across so I hope this event will go some way to highlighting these challenges and the valuable work done by speech and language therapists in a fun and enjoyable way”.
Anne Gamble, RCSLT Northern Ireland Country Councillor said: “We have had an overwhelming response to this competition in the past and we look forward to joining with pupils and politicians for this year’s event.
“Through the RCSLT Giving Voice campaign politicians, parents/guardians and speech and language therapists are working closely to make a difference and transform lives across Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.”
The reigning Voice Box Champion Conor Heaveron from Dungiven also attended the launch. Conor said: “It was great to win last year. We had so much fun with other pupils and meeting our MLAs. We had a tour of Parliament Buildings and we took turns telling our jokes in the Senate Chamber. It was a really good day and everyone enjoyed it. I’d love to do it again.”
Conor is heading for London next month to join with comic legend Lee Mack to judge the English competition at Westminster.
Applications must be in by March 4 and the funniest pupils will be invited to attend the joke-telling final in the Senate Chamber on April 1 where they will meet local MLAs and have the chance to deliver their joke in front of a live audience.
The application form is available online via givingvoiceuk.org/voiceboxNI or by contacting RCSLT directly by email Janet.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 02890 446 385.