TEENAGERS showed nerves of steel by standing up and speaking in front of classmates, teachers and parents plus 80 strangers.

The schoolgoers were in teams of three presenting speeches they had written and entered in Leigh Rotary Club's annual "Youth Speaks" competition at Bedford High School.

Teams entered from Wigan, Rochdale, Bury and Merseyside and Lowton C of E High School trio of Leonie Hull, Matthew Davidson and Ellie Digby gave a polished performance on the subject of people having the right to choose when they die.

The judges commended the students for their in-depth research and skilful presentation of an emotive subject which earned them a place in the next round of the competition.

After each speech Leigh Rotarians Gareth Cheesman and Terence Hargreaves-Stead asked questions which the teams had to spontaneously reply to, making an even more nerve-racking experience.

"The quality of the speeches, the introductions and votes of thanks were quite remarkable and will be a stepping stone for these talented youngsters in their later lives," said Rotary Club spokesman Brian Mills.