TALENTED youngsters competed at the final of the ninth Housman speaking competition.

The event took place at the Artrix Theatre in School Drive on Thursday, March 20.

Each school selected a speaker to learn and recite a poem by AE Housman, and judges then assessed their work and nominated a winner.

Two dramatic readings by Ethan King helped the 12-year-old win not only the middle school section of the competition, but also the Housman Cup, which is presented to the best overall reader on the day.

Ethan's Housman poem was the dramatic Shot! So quick, so clean an ending?, and the judges were impressed with his understanding and delivery that, they said, showed a maturity way beyond his years.

Victorious in the senior school's category was Eden Peppercorn, from North Bromsgrove High School, while the overall winner of last year's trophy, Emily Collie from Bromsgrove School, was the Sixth Form winner this time around.

Chairman of the judging panel, Bryan Maybee, thanked all the participants from 10 schools and commended them for the variety of the poems chosen, and the enthusiasm of their performance.