Young Women Scoop Top Three Craft Awards At 50th South Of England Show

Young Women Scoop Top Three Craft Awards At 50th South Of England Show

Three young Sussex women scooped gold, silver and bronze in this year’s Young Craftsman of the Year competition at the 50th South of England Show and were presented with their awards by celebrity comedian Romesh Ranganathan on Saturday 10th June.

20-year-old Mahum Bahti from Camelia Botnar Foundation in Cowfold, West Sussex was the first woman in 30 years of the awards to be crowned winner for her superb glass-fronted cabinet, her prize presented by celebrity comedian Romesh Ranganathan. Having discovered her talent for cabinetmaking very recently, Mahum wowed the judging panel this year with her beautiful workmanship and the passion she put into her piece.

17-year-old Allegra Cook, from Burgess Hill School for Girls, won silver for her imaginative and colourful African inspired dress, coming a very close second.

16-year-old Alisha Gent from Forest Row School of Ceramics took bronze for her Mad Hatters Tea Party themed ceramic display with a tea set and ceramic Mad Hatter bust.

Crawley lad, comedian Romesh Ranganathan who used to be a teacher at Hazelwick School in Crawley was special guest who presented the overall winners with their awards. Said Romesh: “It’s really nice to see the local students here today. What used to frustrate me as a teacher was when kids who were academic overshadowed those who were practical or creative, so it’s nice to see some recognition for students who think outside the box!”

Visitors to the South of England Show at Ardingly which took place on 8, 9 & 10 June were able to see Mahum’s winning piece along with all the other entries in the Young Craftsman of the Year marquee. Mahum Bahti said, “I can’t believe it! I am really grateful to the Camelia Botnar Foundation who have helped me so much – when I joined the Foundation I hadn’t done anything like this before and they have really mentored me.” Mahum plans to put her £1000 prize money towards new tools and perhaps to treat herself to some clothes as a reward.

This competition is at the heart of the South of England Show and demonstrates skills, diversity and technical expertise across five categories: wood, metal including jewellery, textiles, ceramics and design and technology. The judging panel considered the concept, design, use of materials, artistic merit, function, proportion, technical skill and finish, and of course ultimately the winning pieces had to have that ‘wow’ factor.

Said Sarah Peay, Committee Chairman, “We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Young Craftsman of the Year competition, as well as the 50th anniversary of the South of England Show and we are delighted to have received so many entries from youngsters aged 14-21 years who live or study in Berkshire, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent and Surrey. Since 1987 we have received over 3, 600 entries. This year has been notable in the quality and diversity of the entries; I never cease to be amazed by the inventiveness, dedication, detail, technical skill and potential, and of course the craftsmanship displayed. The competition promotes two of the South of England Agricultural Society’s objectives, namely to promote crafts and skills and to encourage young people to extend themselves and produce work of the highest standard.”

The awards are sponsored by C Brewer & Sons, Mid Sussex District Council, Mid Sussex Timber, Mains Distribution Services, South East Business Systems, The Guild of Master Craftsmen, The French Group, The Ironmongers Company, Mid Sussex Timber, NADFAS, The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers, Mrs C A Green, Mrs E C Hayward, Mrs M Stroude and Mrs J Slaughter.

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