Eleven teams from primary schools in Falmouth, Constantine and Mawnan Smith battled it out in the local Youth Speaks competition.

Organised by Falmouth Rotary Club as part of a national initiative, the event was staged at Falmouth University’s lecture theatre and saw a team from St Francis School walk away triumphant.

They had been pitted against teams from Marlborough, St Mary’s and Falmouth Primary Academy and Constantine and Mawnan Schools.

The winning team has researched their topic and spoke passionately on the question “tomato ketchup - healthy or harmful?”

The main speaker was Daniel Green, nine, who delivered a balanced argument that ketchup not only contained harmful amounts of salt and sugar but also provided one of your five-a-day.

When asked about alternatives he said: "Well I don't like brown sauce, mayonnaise or vinegar so it has to be tomato ketchup.”

Paul Wyatt, president-elect of Falmouth Rotary, awarded prizes and said: “It was great to see the poise and professionalism amongst such young people talking about issues ranging from poaching and badger culling to eco-friendly chewing gum and education.

“There was an air of confidence from all the teams which will help them in later life when they have to stand up and talk in front of a group. It's character-building stuff.”

Rob Holmes, director of finance at the university and a member of Falmouth Rotary, thanked all participants, teachers, parents and judges which included Maria Magro, assistant headteacher at Falmouth School and Linda Selby from Falmouth University.

The next round in the competition will be held in Penzance at the end of the month and, if successful, the teams will present to the District Conference which is this year being held in Falmouth at the beginning of March.