Camelia Botnar student wins gold award at South of England show

Mitchell Bridger receives his award from Sarah Peay
Mitchell Bridger receives his award from Sarah Peay

A student from the Camelia Botnar Foundation in Cowfold was crowned overall winner of young craftsman of the year at the South of England Show on Saturday June 9.

Mitchell Bridger won the gold prize after he wowed the judges with his coffee table built with a wood and glass top and brass and copper details.

The 20-year-old, said: “I’ve been thinking about this competition for such a long time, with many hours of work and some sleepless nights!

“I drew inspiration from nature for my coffee table, making the legs look like trees and a floral top.

“I am really grateful to the Camelia Botnar Foundation who have changed my life completely.”

It is the final year for current committee chairman, Sarah Peay, to be involved in the awards and during the ceremony her vice chairman, Peggy Phillips, paid tribute to Sarah’s hard work and passion for all things educational, presenting her with a card and gift from all of the society and volunteer stewards.

Sarah said: “I am delighted to see so many wonderful and talented artists in my final year as committee chairman.

“I am particularly pleased to see some students returning to the competition and learning from their previous experience.

“This year has been notable in the inventiveness of the entries; we look in awe at what the students have achieved and what they will go on to achieve.

“Every single entrant will be a winner in the future, even if they didn’t receive a prize, because they stuck at it and all their pieces have been admired by thousands – last year over 10,000 people visited the exhibition.

“The competition promotes two of the South of England Agricultural Society’s objectives, to promote crafts and skills and to encourage young people to extend themselves and produce work of the highest standard.”

The competition looks to demonstrate skills, diversity and technical expertise.

The categories are wood, metal (including jewellery), textiles, ceramics and design and technology. The judging panel considered the use of materials, artistic merit, function and more.

The winning pieces had to have the wow factor.

The Camelia Botnar Foundation provides residential training and work experience, helping young people to learn a trade and make their way in life.

For more visit www.cameliabotnar.com/

The awards are sponsored by C. Brewer and Sons Ltd, Mid Sussex District Council, Mid Sussex Timber, South East Business Systems, The Guild of Master Craftsmen, The French Group, The Ironmongers Company, Mid Sussex Timber, Mains Distribution Services, The Arts Society Mid Sussex, The Worshipful Company of Joiners and Ceilers, Mrs. E C Hayward, Mr. I Crook and Mrs. J Slaughter.

Find out more at www.seas.org.uk/young-craftsman-year/