A Glenthorne High School pupil has been named the Sutton regional winner for what’s said to be the world’s largest youth speaking event.

Sandy Achkar became the winner of the Sutton regional final of the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out’ Challenge when it was announced at Wallington High School for Girls on March 27.

The 15-year-old bagged the top prize, a £100 gift certificate, and will now get to go to the grand final being held at Cambridge Theatre on July 1.

It was Sandy’s speech, entitled ‘Rape culture’, which wowed judges – highlighting the “failure of the system to bring rape cases to trial”.

After learning of the result, Sandy said: “I’m shaking from head to foot with excitement. Being speechless is ironic for someone who’s just won a public speaking competition.

“I’m overjoyed to be representing Sutton.”

Amy Hart, 15, from Carshalton High School for Girls, arrived in second place before Nonsuch High School for Girls pupil Mythili Pagedar finished in third.

The Mayor of Sutton, Cllr Steve Cook, presented the awards while the judging panel comprised of figures from both in and outside the borough.

These included Sutton United vice-chairman Adrian Barry, Wallington South ward Cllr Muhammad Sadiq and former presenter Helen Young.

Cllr Cook said: “Sutton celebrates diversity and it’s inspirational to hear the kids talking about it. We have such talent in the room tonight. I can see future lawyers, politicians, actors and comedians.”

Jack Petchey’s ‘Speak Out’ Challenge is reportedly the large public speaking event of its kind in the world, with it now into its 13th year.

More than 19,000 Year 10 pupils enter annually to compete for more than £12,000 worth of prizes which are up for grabs.

It’s supported and funded by the Jack Petchey Foundation, and designed and delivered by UK charity Speakers Trust.

After more than 680 Year 10 pupils in Sutton’s state secondary schools visited a one-day public speaking and communications workshop, they came together for the ‘Speak Out’ Challenge on March 27.