Finn Templeton, Primary 4 at Houston Primary School in Renfrewshire, was among 28 primary schoolchildren from across Scotland, who had MSPs in fits of laughter as they highlighted the importance of speech and language therapy at the inaugural VoiceBox joke-telling competition hosted at the Scottish Parliament.

The VoiceBox competition is designed to highlight the critical role communication plays in a child’s development and the impact speech and language therapy has on their future. VoiceBox aims to shine a light on the power of communication, early language and communication development and the importance of early intervention.

Finn received a medal and a goodie-bag for reaching the final, as well as £100 worth of books from HarperCollins, which were gifted to all 28 finalists.

Ten-year-old Gordon Moodie from Cockenzie Primary School in East Lothian was crowned the winner as MSPs were treated to a showcase of Scotland’s next generation of comedy stars. The final was hosted by Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Alison Johnstone MSP, with Zara Janjua, a BBC journalist and comedian, compering.

The preliminary rounds were filled with hundreds of hilarious jokes, making the selection process a tough challenge for the judges. After much deliberation, the finalists were chosen to perform their jokes live at the Parliament, with one selected from each of Scotland’s local authorities.

The competition’s funniest joke, delivered by Gordon, was: “Why did the donkey go to the shops? Cause he had hee haw in the hoose!”

Photo: Finn Templeton with his certificate and a medal for reaching the final

Gordon also received £500 worth of books for their school from competition sponsor Collins Big Cat, the leading whole-school primary reading programme.

Runner-up Zara Scott (Primary 2 at Newport Primary in Fife) received £200 worth of Collins Big Cat books for her school, as did Gregor Agnew (Primary 6 at Lincluden Primary in Dumfries and Galloway) and Ismail Iqbal (Primary 7 at Newarthill Primary in North Lanarkshire), who were named in joint third place.

All four winners were also presented with toy gift cards: £100 for first place, £75 for second, and £50 for third.

Glenn Carter, Head of RCSLT Scotland, said: “VoiceBox goes beyond entertainment; it highlights the vital role of speech and language therapy in empowering children to express themselves. It was brilliant to see all the kids here, and the RCSLT is thrilled to have brought VoiceBox to the Scottish Parliament, where it received such enthusiastic support. The joy and laughter shared today highlight the power of communication and the importance of nurturing it in our young people.”

Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Alison Johnstone MSP, added: “It was a pleasure to host the final of the VoiceBox competition at the Scottish Parliament. The children put so much effort and thought into their jokes, which were a testament to their creativity and confidence. Events like these showcase the importance of helping children find their own voice and share their unique perspectives with the world.”

Lizzi Jones, Head of Sales and Marketing for Scotland from HarperCollins Publishers, said: “We are delighted to support the development of children’s communication skills through VoiceBox and the message that it is spreading. We believe that this will help improve children’s literacy and comprehension abilities through the enjoyment of telling a joke.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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