A YOUNG lad wowed the crowd in a West End theatre with a speech about how he came to terms with his Dad’s sexuality.
Albie Williams, 15, chose to talk about the highly-personal subject in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Competition.
The moving, candid and at times brilliantly funny speech discussed a time four years ago, when Albie came across a text message from his dad John Williams, 42, intended for his male partner.
A fortnight later, John broke the news to Albie that the message wasn’t a joke and he was, in fact, gay.
“I’m used to it now,” Albie told the Gazette. “But at first it was really difficult - it took about a month to come to terms with it. I was kicking and punching walls, really stressing out.
“But then I came in from school one day, was laying on my bed and thought to myself ‘just because he likes men, that doesn’t make him any less of a Dad. He still takes me to rugby and he’s still the Dad that he always was. My mates were even telling me ‘look, he’s still the same person’.
The youngster, of Eskley Gardens in South Ockendon, won the regional final of the speaking contest at the Gateway Academy in Tilbury - but was narrowly pipped in the final at the Picadilly Theatre in London recently.
Albie said: “It was amazing. To be in the top 15 out of 18,000 entrants was fantastic. The grand final went better than the regional finals, just because we had more time to prepare.”
The teenager who has ambitions of one-day returning to the West End stage as a performer, said the speech appeared to be changing perceptions at his school, the Ormiston Park Academy.
“There was a big assembley where all the pupils watched the video and teachers have been coming up to me and saying that they’ve noticed less homophobic language since.”
Watch Albie's speech