An East Durham College lecturer has topped off an incredible year by becoming the first-ever female British Grandmaster Barber.
The award, which is only given to the very best in barbering by the British Master Barbers Alliance, was awarded to Alison Brightwell due to her incredible work in the barbering industry.
Alison was surprised with the award being presented to her live on stage at the hair and beauty trade show HJ Live in Manchester, just after she had finished a live demonstration of men’s hairstyling.
In 2014, Alison was the first woman ever to be presented with the title of British Master Barber. Four years later, she is also the first woman to be presented with the title of British Grand Master barber – the highest award offered by the British Master Barbers Alliance.
Alison said: “Wow, what an amazing thing to be surprised with! I can’t believe it – I was shocked when I received the Master Barber title a few years ago, but to receive this as well is just incredible!
“I’d like to thank all of the amazing students I teach for inspiring me to keep going in this industry – teaching is my true passion, and I think that by keeping on top of the latest trends in barbering, I can always make sure I get the very best out of our talented students at East Durham College.”
The British Master Barbers Alliance was set up to help promote established, talented British barbers and the work they do. The organisation helps to root out unskilled, untalented and uninsured barbers, rewarding those who are pioneers in their field and keep on top of the latest trends and styles.
The title of Grand Master Barber was presented to Alison because of her continued exceptional work in the barbering industry. As well as working on weekends in a local barbers (Twins Studios in Norton), Alison teaches the next generation of barbers during the week at East Durham College, presents regularly on stage at international salon shows and is also part of the City & Guilds barbering board, helping to shape the future of barbering education.
Earlier this year, Alison’s commitment to teaching and getting the very best out of her students was recognised with her being presented with the Further Education Teacher of the Year award at the TES Awards 2018. Alison was up against teaching talent from all other subjects across the country for the award, emerging victorious because of her incredible work ethic, bond with her students and pioneering work in the barbering industry.