Oxford pupil wins a prize in the national Cranmer awards contest

A PUPIL at Oxford’s Magdalen College School, Orlando Riviere, has won a top prize in the Cranmer Awards, a national competition which has taken place annually since 1989.

Run by the Prayer Book Society, the contest introduces young people to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer created by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, during the Reformation. Orlando, 17, who won the £150 senior second prize, memorised and spoke by heart the Collect, Epistle and Gospel for the Feast of St Peter front of an audience of more than 100 parents, teachers, clergy and members of the Prayer Book Society.

Pictured is Orlando Riviere receiving his prize from Quentin Letts. Photo: the Prayerbook Society

More than 300 school pupils entered local heats and 27 competed in the finals held at Old Palace in Worcester. The prizes, as well as a certificate and a copy of The Book of Common Prayer, were presented by the journalist, theatre critic and author Quentin Letts

Describing the Prayer Book as “a deep well of history, poetry and philosophy which teenagers relish,” Mr Letts criticised those who say “no one will be able to understand that old language.”

“That’s rot!” he said. “Our contestants today not only understood it; they made it soar.”