YOUNG speakers from St Mary’s Middle School in Puddletown were praised for their ‘fantastic effort’ at a regional competition.

Maddie Dipple, Zoe Williams and Becca Knight represented the Dorchester Casterbridge Rotary Club in the district final of the Rotary Club Youth Speaks Competition at Cheddar in Somerset after beating off competition from ten other schools in previous rounds.

They were the least experienced team in the final but held their nerve in front of an audience of 100 people to deliver their talk about chocolate.

Headteacher Carl Winch said: “Despite a fantastic effort on the day, the girls were narrowly defeated by an outstanding team from the Ralph Allen School in Bath.

“However, they have done themselves, their families, their teachers and St Mary’s Middle School proud.

“Well done Maddie, Zoe and Becca!

“You deserve it!”