Six months ago, Fast-fit network First Stop set out on a hunt to answer an age-old question – who is the best plumber in the entire United Kingdom.
Votes came in in their thousands. It seemed like everybody had a favourite plumber upon whom they wished to bestow their vote. The nominations were flooding in, ironically, since flooding is the one thing all of the nominees were good at preventing.
Following a painstaking process of public votes, interviews and in-depth judging, the vast pool of pipe-tinkering talent was whittled down from hundreds to a long-list of 15, and then to a final shortlist of five.
Representing the cream of the plumbing crop, the final five included talented young tradesmen from England, Scotland and Wales, all of whom had their eyes on the grand prize, a vehicle safety upgrade from First Stop and thousands of pounds’ worth of goodies from the likes of JT, Bristan and Wolseley Plumb Center products, plus additional prizes from Proper Job Beer, Rothenberger, CK Tools, Salamander, Filplastic, First Stop and BigWipes.
Competing were Gareth Lloyd from Hereford; Drew Styles from Wigan; Thomas Foster from Dundee; Paul Maguire from Glasgow; and Tom Jenkins from Glamorgan. Between them the chaps boast more than 60 years of experience in the plumbing trade, so crowning one of them as the overall champion was never going to be an easy task.
However, just like in Highlander, ‘there can be only one’. And after much deliberation, it was decided that Drew Styles was the man most deserving of the overall UK title. This, after all, is a man who started plumbing when he was six years old, so it can truly be said that he has devoted his life to the art.
Drew said: “It’s nice to be able to say, ‘Look, I obviously know what I’m talking about.’ I’m trying not to sound arrogant thought. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’ve been so busy that I’ve not had a moment yet where I could sit down and really think about it.”
First Stop would like to offer its congratulations to all the finalists and the overall champion plumber. The Plumber Of The Year contest will return in 2018 so if you’re handy with a spanner, then put it in your planner.
For more information about First Stop and its network of centres, visit www.firststop.co.uk