Two Chorley students have landed a memorable double at a national championships.

Southlands High School brainboxes Matthew Gregory and Abigail Rothwell, both 15, claimed the top two spots in this year’s UK Schools Memory Championships.

Winner Matthew, from Adlington, said he discovered his talent purely by accident after teachers at the school asked pupils to enter.

He said: “I had never done anything like this before.

“We were given some practice sheets and (the outgoing deputy headteacher) Mr Souter encouraged us to get involved.

“We did the supervised test in school in June and then I found out I had won about ten days ago.

“I was really happy but very surprised too. Abi had beaten me in our practice rounds and she was very good.”

Participants had to memorise: 

  • 160 words in 15 minutes
  • 4 lines of 100 numbers
  • Dozens of dates of fictional events

Matthew’s prize was a trip to the Science Museum in London last Thursday, where he received his certificate and a number of books.

He also got a taste of the national adult memory championships, which were taking place at the museum that day.

David Goulden, the teacher who helped to train the students said: “With exams reverting back to final exams based on knowledge, good memory techniques will be an important part of students’ training .

“We are delighted with both Matthew and Abi’s achievements. The tests were really difficult and their powers of concentration were a key to their success.”

As if their success wasn’t enough, the duo will return to the Clover Road school as deputy head boy and girl in September.