CLITHEROE Young Farmers’ Club has been crowned the Lancashire debating champions for the third time in four years.

Last year’s victors collected the trophy again after the final against Bolton-by-Bowland in Clitheroe.

The team of three, brother and sister Ben and Louise Hartley, 26 and 22, both from Bashall Eaves, along with John Walmsley, 24, from Warton, saw off 17 other teams on the way to lifting the trophy again.

The annual Lancashire-wide competition featured three heats before a knock-out phase leading to the final.

Teams were able to choose which issues to discuss, which ranged from politics to youth issues.

In the final, the two teams argued whether the government should concentrate on renewable energies rather than pursuing gas via fracking.

They also discussed a motion which stated that the nice guy always finishes last.

Winning team member Louise said: “We were all really pleased to win and it was a fantastic send-off for my brother who was competing for the last time.

“He has debated at a national level and it was great for him to finish on a high.

“There was a large crowd of young farmers and past debaters which was great. We are already looking forward to competing to reclaim the trophy.”

Lancashire Federation of Young Farmers’ Club chairman, Jess Townson said: “This is a great achievement for the club and they have done very well over recent years.

“The competition has been going for 45 years now and it really helps to enhance our member’s public speaking skills.

“It’s great that so many people take part and some clubs enter two teams because there is so much demand.”