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Talk about a fast show: Londoner rattles off Raglan in 25 seconds

HE CAME, he talked, he conquered. And all in less than 25 seconds, writes Kevin Keane.

The world's fastest talker could find nobody to match him for speed yesterday after he issued an open challenge to the men and women of Ireland.

The task was simple: recite all four verses of Patrick Kavanagh's poem 'On Raglan Road' without mumbling or distorting any of the words.

But anyone wishing to take on Steve Woodmore had better have their tongue warmed up -- the world record holder can already read through all 214 words of the famous poem in less than 25 seconds.

The 51-year-old from London has admitted he was a little disappointed by the standard he encountered in Dublin yesterday.

"We've tried it out with a couple of people and they can't get anywhere near my speed," he said, adding that the quickest person he came across could only manage a pedestrian 50 seconds.

But with Ireland's reputation for being a country of fast talkers, Mr Woodmore is confident that the pace will have quickened by the time the official challengers to this record are selected in September.

"It should be quite a good competition and I'm hoping some Irish people will be able to give me a run for my money, I have held this world record for 21 years so let's hope so," he said.

Mr Woodmore is putting his reputation on the line for 50/50 Phone A Friend -- an organisation that seeks to raise awareness about suicide and mental health issues in Ireland.

"It's good to talk and if you're talking about a problem it's a problem shared," Mr Woodmore said.

The charity highlights six 24-hour helpline numbers for organisations such as the Samaritans and Aware, and has erected special plaques displaying these numbers in public places.

Contestants wishing to take on Mr Woodmore have until the July 16 to register their entry by going to the charity's website www.50/50phoneafriend.ie

Each person must raise €500 for the charity before being entered in to a "talk-off".

The winners from that competition will then face the world record holder in Dublin on September 10.

Irish Independent