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Two Hereford Cathedral School pupils have had phenomenal success in one of the most difficult public speaking competitions for children in the UK.

To enter The Cranmer Awards, candidates must read a long passage by heart from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. The passage has to be between three and five minutes long. The rules state that if you deviate accidentally and say text from another, more recent, prayer book you’ll be marked down!

Those strict judges at The Cranmer Awards look for the following attributes when they mark candidates on how well they recite:

  • Clarity and projection
  • Pace, use of pause and emphasis
  • Fluency and rhythm
  • Natural, intelligent communication of meaning
  • Secure, accurate memorisation and timing

Yet Flora B-S from Year 8 (pictured above) and Willa M (below) from Year 10 seemed to take all these rules and regulations, and the complexity of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, all in their stride.

Cranmer Award winner Willa M

Both girls won their categories – Junior and Senior – amazing news and a huge well done to both girls!

Flora and Willa each won £25 and will go on to represent Herefordshire at the National Cranmer Awards competition next February in Worcestershire Cathedral. 

Pupils from around 13 dioceses take part in The Cranmer Awards, a national competition sponsored and run by the Prayer Book Society.

The contest introduces young people to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer created by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, during the Reformation.
Finalists in the national competition are required to memorise and speak by heart their chosen Prayer Book passages in front of an audience of more than 100, which comprises parents, teachers, clergy and members of the Prayer Book Society.