A NORTHUMBERLAND Park School pupil stormed to victory last night in an inter-school battle and named the borough's best speaker.

Patrick Velastegui, 15, lit up the stage and impressed judges at the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge held at Forismere, in Tetherdown, on Wednesday evening with a no-holds-barred speech on knife crime.

Shocking in parts, the Year 10 pupil said he was sick and tired of out-of-touch politicians waxing lyrical on a subject they did not understand and said he was fed up with knife arches being erected in his school which only served to criminalise young people.

He said: "It may come to surprise you that Britain has one of the lowest death rates in Europe, but from my perspective I'm living on the edge.

"Don't come to my school and put up a knife arch. Tell me about the effects of knife crime. Don't threaten me with 25 years imprisonment. Let us, as young people, hear the testimonies of surgeons who stem and flow."

As the room filled with pupils from schools across Haringey waited for the winner to be announced, the crowd started screaming the teenager's name.

Patrick said: "I wanted to talk about something I know. My friends and I do live in an area where stabbings are a reality – a part of everyday life. When I got up there there I realised I was really angry and passionate about this issue and I think that came across. I was surprised to win but I'm really happy."

His father, John, of Seymour Avenue, said: "This is a very beautiful moment for us. I thought he was brilliant. He has made our family so proud. He was definitely the people's choice tonight."

In second place was Hornsey School for Girls pupil Kimberly Thompson who was supported by her enthusiastic banner-bearing classmates who whooped and cheered throughout the ceremony, followed by Kiterie Cassell from St Thomas More RC School in third.

The Hornsey School for Girls pupil gave a rousing speech on the way young men and women interacted with each other and urged girls not to respond to boys who try to get their attention by calling them 'oi'.

Kimberly, 15, who wants to become an educational psychologist, said: "I wanted to spread the message that young people need to have respect for themselves first and they will get respect from everyone else."

Young people spoke on a varied number of topics including childhood obesity, poverty and a witty offering entitled Not All Americans Are Dumb.

Haringey mayor, Councillor Eddie Griffith, said: "I thought all the speakers were amazing tonight. They were confident, witty and showed wisdom beyond their years."