A student won a citywide public speaking competition with a speech about how she coped with her mother passing away.

Fifteen-year-old Matilda Kitenge, who is a student at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy in Derby, lost her mum when she was in Year 6 at primary school.

The 15-year-old (pictured right) won Derby Schools Public Speaking Competition, which is open to secondary schools across the city.

Matilda said: “I really struggled to talk about losing my mum in Years 7 and 8 as I was angry and I was quite moody but I feel like it made me stronger and I wanted to share why I am so strong now. She’s my inspiration and I think she would be proud of me.”

Matilda is a strong advocate for youth voice and said that young people should not be afraid to speak out.

She said: “I think people are too embarrassed and scared to speak out because other’s opinions are at the back of everyone’s minds. I would tell them to let go of the fear of what other people think because we only live once.”

Matilda aims high in school and even has aspirations of becoming a future Prime Minister.

Teacher Daniel Thornhill, who is Matilda’s Head of Year, said: “Matilda is a student whom I see as one with a great future ahead of her. Without a doubt, she has lived out the message of her speech and she serves as an inspiration to others. I feel immensely privileged to have been there to witness it, and I am immensely proud to be her Head of Year.”

Derby Schools Public Speaking Competition is run by Derby City Council. Students work with the Lost Boys Theatre company who deliver workshops and offer advice ahead of the final.

Matilda and other students from across the city made it to the final after delivering speeches in front of their peers and they then performed in front a panel.

Saint Benedict CVA and Matilda’s family and friends are immensely proud of her, but the school is no stranger to taking this trophy home, as this is the 6th victory out of the 10 years that the competition has been running.

Hazel Boyce, Headteacher at Saint Benedict, said: “We are delighted that a pupil from Saint Benedict has once again won this prestigious competition.

“The bravery and confidence with which Matilda spoke was incredible she is such a force for good! We are all incredibly proud of Matilda and know she will go forward in life, setting the world on fire.”