Nine-year-old Chesterfield boy wins European Gull Screeching Championship

  • Sally Biddulph reports on Cooper's victory

A nine-year-old boy who has mastered the call of a seagull is basking in his newfound fame after winning an international competition.

Cooper Wallace, from Chesterfield, began imitating the common coastal bird following a trip to the seaside.

He is now able to produce an uncannily lifelike impersonation after years of practice.

And his unusual skill saw him soar to victory in the little-known European Gull Screeching Championships in Belgium at the weekend.

Cooper, who is now in the midst of a gruelling round of media interviews following his triumph, told ITV's This Morning: "It was awesome. I wasn't nervous when I first heard about it, I was really confident, but then I got a bit wary when I saw one person had the same costume as me."

  • Cooper and his mum Lauren appeared on ITV's This Morning

Cooper was the first ever British entrant to the competition, in which participants mimic both the call and the actions of a seagull.

He posted a score of 92 out of 100 – the highest of of any of the 56 competitors.

Appearing on This Morning in a seagull costume, Cooper joked with presenters Cat Deeley and Ben Shephard that he got his extraordinary ability from a seagull in Devon.

"[We were] on Woolacombe Beach when one stole my ham sandwich and nipped my finger, so we think it's the Spiderman effect that I'm now able to do the seagull noise," he said.

  • Cooper's winning performance at the European Gull Screeching Championships

He described first hearing about the European Gull Screeching Championships from a stranger at a soft play centre.

"My sister Shelby lost me, and she went down to my mum and she said 'mum, I've lost Cooper', and my mum said 'follow the seagull noise' because I was doing it at the time," said Cooper.

"This man next to us could not stop laughing."

The man then showed the family a clip of the competition, and said "you have to do it".

Cooper said the day itself was "really quick" and it had been a "really, really, really big day for me".

"It all was just a little bit of fun," said Cooper's mum Lauren.

"We were just reminding Cooper that we were here to have a fun time, and if he wins, amazing, if he doesn't, we've had a nice weekend away doing something completely different.

"He just stood up there and went for it!

On the prospect of next year's competition, Cooper said he is planning to go back and said he hopes to win, but wants it to be more of a challenge.

"Hopefully there'll be more people in the competition so it won't be as easy as it was," he said.

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