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Buzzing Billy is Bee-rilliant

28 May 2019

Bill celebrating with his trophy.

8-year-old Billy Powell from Norden Primary school was crowned the Rochdale Spelling Bee champion at the borough's first grand final.

Set in the stunning Great Hall at Rochdale Town Hall, over 200 supporters with flags and banners gathered to support 15 finalists in the borough's first ever spelling bee final.

The event, sponsored by kind donations from Madeline Lindley and Wilmott Dixon, saw the finalists battle against each other in knock-out rounds; spelling words like; 'impinge', 'hallucinations', 'squander', 'prosaic' and 'effervescent'.

Tension grew as the rounds went on until Billy and Khadija Kiaanat, aged 11, from Sandbrook Primary School, competed in the final. Billy clinched the inaugural title with a perfect spelling of 'generation' – sending the crowd wild.

Finalists with the Mayor of Rochdale.

'I'm very proud of myself that I got this far'

Top speller Billy gave a short speech, saying: "I'm very happy I've won the Rochdale Spelling Bee. I'm very proud of myself that I got this far."

Lowerplace Primary School have been instrumental in organising the borough's first ever inter-school spelling bee, and 32 schools across the borough took part in the competition. The Spelling Bee provided an opportunity for schools to work together so that children's spelling can improve in a fun way. 

'To spell out loud under that pressure and in front of such a huge audience was a great achievement for all of them'

Clare McGreevy, Rochdale Spelling Bee instigator and coordinator, said: "What a final! All our contestants were seriously impressive - to spell out loud under that pressure and in front of such a huge audience was a great achievement for all of them. Billy did so well; we are all delighted for him and I'm sure it will be a memory he will cherish."

Rochdale Spelling Bee will be back in 2020. Keep an eye on the Spelling Bee website for the latest news
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