Coombe Boys’ pupil raises £400 for Love Kingston charity appeal with hustings

A 15-year-old schoolboy organised the borough’s largest political hustings debate and chaired the event inside his school sports hall this month.

Coombe Boys’ whizz-kid James Giles put on the show for more than 200 people in aid of charity campaign Love Kingston on Tuesday, April 14.

During the hustings residents got the chance to quiz Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour, TUSC, UKIP and Green parliamentary candidates ahead of the general election next month.

The lively debate included topics such as affordable housing, immigration and the European Union.

James said: “Some of the candidates took liberties trying to get their points across in the first half, but I tried to clamp down on that.

“It was clear that all the candidates would make good MPs for Kingston and Surbiton.

“I was a bit nervous about chairing it, but I was excited and looking forward to it. I haven’t done a huge amount of public speaking before so it was a step into the unknown, but I’ve watched David Dimbleby enough times.”

Surrey Comet:

James Giles started organising the hustings when he was just 14

The teenager, who enjoys playing the piano and sings for the St James Church choir as a tenor in his spare time, also edits Coombe Monthly magazine.

The magazine, which initially started out as a school newsletter, now has its own website and has branched out to cover news across Kingston.

The year 10 student also managed to raise £400 for Love Kingston with his hustings.

James also shared a poll from his hustings that showed attendees decided Labour candidate Lee Godfrey and Conservative candidate James Berry jointly won the debate with 23 per cent each.

Coombe Federation headteacher Deborah Walls said: “As a school, we are incredibly proud of James for organising the hustings and for his unfailing commitment to the community.

“He is an inspiration to us all.”

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