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A new Design & Decorate champion is crowned

A new Design & Decorate champion is crowned

This month, Dulux Academy once again hosted the Design & Decorate Challenge to celebrate International Wallpaper Week. After beating off exceptional competition from decorators across the UK, Stuart Yates was crowned this year's champion.

Entrants to the challenge were asked to design their own wallpaper before these were put to a public vote. The five finalists were then invited to the Dulux Academy for the second part of the challenge where their wallpapering skills were put to the test in a tough day-long challenge which tested their cutting, specification, product application and matching skills.

The scoring of the five finalists was out of 300, and just three points separated the top two decorators. The judging panel praised Stuart for being 'a credit to our sector' and awarded him the honour of being UK champion adding that 'he exhibited the best skills across the board'.

Stuart's prize includes the unique chance to see his wallpaper being made at the Graham and Brown factory in Blackburn; further complemented with a factory tour and a luxury stay the Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa with meal for two, plus a Dulux Academy goody bag.

Of course, Stuart also benefits from the kudos of being crowned UK champion, something he believes will be a real springboard for his business. He said: "This award is important to me because it's important to my customers. They want to work with the best in the business and this award carries huge recognition. For my own business point of view, it gives me huge competitive edge. If a customer receives three quotes at a similar price, they will opt for the quote from a national award winner."

Showing the new generation the skill of the job

Vickie Mather, Dulux Academy Manager, added: "We created this competition with the sole purpose of celebrating the amazing talents of the skilled and accomplished professionals who make it their daily mission to raise the standards of our industry. All of our finalists showed the craftsmanship that make our industry great, and we are proud to honour Stuart Yates as the best of the best. He is a role model for the next generation of tradespeople to aspire to."

Judges also praised the four other finalists - Nick Adonis, Karen Julien, Andrew Bigwood and Miles Newby - for the high standard of their work.

Head judge Neil Ogilvie, Chief Executive Officer at the Painting and Decorating Association, said: "Events like this are crucial in highlighting the professionalism of our industry, in inspiring decorators to upskill in new techniques and in showing the new generation the skill of the job."