St Helens apprentice crowned top decorator

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An apprentice from St Helens is on a roll after being crowned one of the nation’s top wallpaper hangers.

Adam Knowles was announced the Junior Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year at a prestigious gala dinner, organised by the Painting and Decorating Association (PDA) at the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel on Saturday, 11 November.

The 18-year old apprentice – who works for Bagnalls North West – received a £200 cash prize, a certificate and a trophy at the event, which formed part of the PDA’s National Conference.

The award was presented after Adam took part in the PDA’s national competition, held at The Hub in Doncaster in October.

Adam, who is also studying towards an NVQ Level 2 in Painting and Decorating at St Helens College, said: “This is the first time I’ve entered the competition and it’s a brilliant feeling to have won, especially as my girlfriend was there when they announced the winners.

“Bagnalls are really proud of my success too and I’m planning to take part in the senior level contest next year.”

Putting the wallpaper hanging skills of apprentice decorators from all over the UK to the ultimate test, the contest was split into two different competitions, a junior and senior level.

Adam – along with five other junior competitors – was required to wallpaper a three-sided booth in seven hours.

Judged by past PDA North East Regional Presidents Alan Pearson and Dave Woods, the results were kept under wraps until the gala dinner.

Neil Ogilvie, Chief Executive of the PDA, said: “What a great success for Adam, his first year of competing and he’s finished with the junior title.

“The quality of the work this year was exceptional, and Adam was up against some very tough competition.”

Brewers are a long-standing sponsor of the annual competition and Simon Walmsley, National Account Manager, was at the gala dinner presenting the winners with their awards.

He said: “We’d like to congratulate Adam on his success and for showcasing his skills in this contest.

“Brewers are proud to sponsor the PDA Apprentice Paperhanger of the Year competition, as we feel it’s a good way to help encourage the next generation into the painting and decorating trade.”