A teenage orator has been named the champion young public speaker out of 30,000 secondary school pupils in London and Essex, leaving him just a step away from the Grand Final of the UK’s largest youth public speaking challenge.

Wazid Chwdury, a Year 10 pupil at Dagenham's Eastbrook Secondary school won the regional final of the Jack Petchey ‘Speak Out’ challenge.

He scooped top place in the regional contest, staged at Dagenham Park CofE School on March 26, with a powerful speech about Voices of Migration.

Wazid called for “an end to discrimination” and questioned the relevance of stringent immigration policies and citizenship tests.

“I never expected this,” he admitted. “Everyone should strive for the very best and never give up.”

His passion caught the ears judges like Future Youth Zone chief executive Gavin Evans, youth advocate Ebony King, Redbridge district Scout Commissioner Kresh Veerasamy, Ashok’s Vision International charity founder David Howarth, coach and mentor Shofa Miah and Dagenham Park School’s head girl Iris Palomino Godwin.

Wazid now goes forward to the online semi-finals with 37 other regional champions before the top 15 are picked for the national Grand Final staged, in the West End at the prestigious Cambridge Theatre on July 8.

Previous Grand Final winners have gone on to be Hollywood stars or sell their businesses for six figures, while becoming social influencers and public speakers. They include actors Jamie Flatters and Idris Sobande, entrepreneur Tim Armoo and writer Poppy Noor.

Thousands of Year 10 pupils aged 14 and 15 from 500 state schools take part in the annual challenge.

The London and Essex regional challenge, run by the Speakers Trust, is funded through the Jack Petchey Foundation. The winner gets a £100 gift certificate and goes forward for a crack at the Grand Final.

Runner-up was Opeyemi Oreyeni from Barking Riverside School, with a speech titled ‘Love has no Colour’. Third was Mitchell Weedon-Hedges from Dagenham Park CofE School with a speech called ‘Good Job’.

The awards were presented by Barking and Dagenham Mayor Donna Lumsden.

Wazid could be competing at the Grand Final and the chance to win a £2,000 bursary plus £3,000 for his school if he makes it.

The ‘Speak Out’ challenge is the largest public speaking event of its kind in the world, now in its 18th year, with around 30,000 Year 10 pupils competing every year for prizes worth £12,000.

The Speakers Trust has a vision “for every young person to speak confidently and be heard”. It runs programmes teaching the skills to be able to speak with clarity, conviction and impact. Benefits of the training spread to their studies, the workplace and home.

The Jack Petchey Foundation was set up by East London entrepreneur Jack Petchey in 1999 to pay for programmes and projects that benefit young people. It has since donated more than £100 million to schools and organisations in London and Essex to help youngsters play a full part in society.