Crawley schoolboy’s joke gets him to contest final

Louis Colburn from Ifield Crawley is one of 20 children through to the VoiceBox joke-telling competition final held at Speakers House, Westminster in London. Pictured with children's author and judge Gary Northfield - picture submitted
Louis Colburn from Ifield Crawley is one of 20 children through to the VoiceBox joke-telling competition final held at Speakers House, Westminster in London. Pictured with children's author and judge Gary Northfield - picture submitted

A boy from Crawley has beaten hundreds of schoolchildren across the UK to reach the final or a joke-telling competition.

Louis Colburn from Ifield is one of 20 children through to the VoiceBox competition final held at Speaker’s House, Westminster in London earlier this month.

The eight year old, who wants to be a police officer when he grows up, delighted the packed audience of politicians, parents and children with his joke: What do you call a sheep that’s been hit by lightning? An electric blanket.

He said: “I tell jokes to lots of friends at school. I was nervous but I didn’t practise.”

Voice Box is an annual competition, organised by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists and partnered by The Communication Trust.

It aims to remind people that there are children in every classroom who need support to help them speak and understand what is being said to them.

Nearly 20 per cent of the population may experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives. Seven per cent of children aged about five years have specific speech and language impairment and a further 1.8 per cent have speech, language and communication needs linked to other conditions, such as learning disability, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrum disorders.

He was presented with a certificate and supported at the event by Crawley MP, Henry Smith, who said: “I was delighted to welcome Louis and his mother to Parliament for the final of the Voice Box joke telling competition. The importance of good communication can’t be underestimated, and I’m grateful to the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists, and the Communication Trust, for organising the Voice Box competition.”

John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: “I am delighted to be able to host this wonderful event for the second year running.

“It is extremely important that children with speech, language and communication needs receive the support they require to reach their potential.”

RCSLT Chief Executive Officer Kamini Gadhok MBE added: “Speech, language and communication difficulties are the most common type of special education need in 4 – 11 year-old children. However, with the right help and support, children can improve their social skills, peer relationships and self-confidence, and access education that is vital to improving their life chances.”