TALKATIVE Peebles pupils Mhairi Sinclair and Helen Whalley were in the running yesterday (Thursday) to land the country's most competitive debating title.

Back in November a total of 128 debating teams-of-two laid down their arguments during the early heats of the annual Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament.

But only four schools can reach the grand final at Holyrood - and joining Perth High, Strathallan High and Lenzie Academy were Mhairi and Helen representing Peebles High.

As we went to press yesterday, the teams were still waiting on the judges' decision to award the £1,000 first prize.

But president of the Law Society of Scotland, Alison Atack, was full of praise for all of the finalists.

She said: “As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the Donald Dewar Debate, this year has been yet another fantastic tournament.

“Each and every one of the 128 teams who have taken part are to be congratulated on their performances and the four schools in the final should be incredibly proud of themselves.

“The quality of the arguments showcased this year and the confidence and talent of these young debaters has been outstanding.”

The Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament was established back in 1999 - and is now the largest debating tournament for secondary schools in Scotland.

Organised and run by the Law Society of Scotland, the competition is dedicated to the memory of the former First Minister Donald Dewar MSP, who died in 2000.

This year's finalists were tasked with laying down arguments regarding assisted suicide.

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani chaired the final within the Scottish Parliament. Ahead of the final she told us: "This debate on assisted suicide will require much thought and skill from the finalists.

"This is a complex, demanding topic that combines law, medicine and ethics.

"Young people often bring interesting perspectives to challenging areas, and I look forward to hearing the arguments they present to the chamber on Thursday.”