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Prestigious Awards at BETA International

Posted on Friday, February 9, 2018 by Heather Dodd


THIS year’s BETA International saw young and talented apprentices and trainees competing for the top awards in the Society of Master Saddlers’ competitions throughout the three days.

Always a major feature of BETA International, the competitions draw a lot of interest, with visitors able to see quality craftsmanship in the making as the students work at their stations in the Saddlery Pavilion.

Once again the prize money was kindly donated by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers with BETA International providing the area for the competition space.

After its success over the last two years, the SMS once again had entries from one of the classes of its National Saddlery Competition available to view and vote on over the show. This year the class was for a Leather Toy for a Boy.

Said Hazel Morley of the Society of Master Saddlers: “Every year the competition at BETA International just gets better and better, with the standards rising all the time.

“It is a great opportunity to provide a fabulous shop window for apprentices and trainees to take part in.

“To watch them working in quite a tense and competitive environment is great and really brings out the best in them and shows we have the best saddlery training facilities in the world.”

The apprentices and students taking part on Sunday made a cob size pair of cheeks with hook studs which was to be completed in six hours.

Competitors who are training at the Saddlery Training Centre and who took part were Corrin King of S. Milner & Son, Leicestershire; Lucy Ellis of Andy Wheals The Saddle Man, Shropshire; Rachel Lok of Nutwell Saddlery, Exmouth and Rebecca Simmons of Pegaso Saddlery and Leatherwork, Buckingham.

The top award went to Lucy Ellis with Rachel Lok claiming second place after judges Master Saddlers’ Catherine Baker and Emily White had made their deliberations.

Said Lucy: “It is great to win and I really enjoy coming to BETA International and competing in the classes while showcasing the skills I have learnt.”

Added Emily: “There was an excellent standard throughout and all the entrants showed different approaches which was very interesting and provoked a lot of discussion before we came to our final decision.”

On the Monday, second year Capel Manor College students included Satsuki Ishizuka, Chloe Rutherford, Vicki Andersen and Megan Webb who made a raised brow band.

The winning award went to Megan Webb with Chloe Rutherford taking the runner-up place.

Judges Laurence Pearman and Chris Taylor were full of praise for the work which was of a high standard.

Said Megan: “I really didn’t expect to win, it is just fantastic and the prize money is a real bonus.”

They were followed on Tuesday by first year Capel Manor students who showcased their leatherworking talents by making an Irish Martingale judged by Catherine Baker and Helen Reader.

The students included Gudrun-Kirstine Gadegaard Thuesen, Zoe Hurst, Bibiane Droog and Tara Griffin.

And after careful thought and study, the judges chose Tara Griffin’s entry to be the winner with Gudrun-Kirstine Gadegaard Thuesen taking second place.

Information about the Society of Master Saddlers can be found on the website: or telephone 01449 711642.

Hard at work during the competitionLeft to right - Megan Webb, Satsuki Ishizuka, Prime Warden of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers' Hugh Thomas, Chloe Rutherford and Vicki Andersen - Copy Lucy Ellis receives her award from SMS President Sue Norton - Copy Megan Webb receives her award from Hugh Thomas Saddlery Training Centre students Rebecca Simmons, Lucy Ellis, Rachel Lok and Corrin King with (centre) SMS President Sue Norton


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