A dedicated Leighton Buzzard carpet fitter has made it all the way to the finals of a national industry competition.
John Wright, 44, of John Wright Carpets and Flooring, is preparing his best tools of the trade, as he heads up to Harrogate on Sunday (September 16) to go for gold in the prestigious ‘Carpet Fitter of the Year 2018’ awards.
The ambitious tradesman is the only finalist from the south of England, the other five contestants hailing from Scotland, Cambridgeshire, Worcester and Birmingham, John firmly putting Leighton Buzzard on the map!
He said: “The competition is held over two days and I have to do a ‘platform fitting’, for example, there’s stairs to a landing and stairs to a main platform.
“They put obstacles in the way and try to make it as awkward as possible - a cupboard under the stairs or a pole in the middle of everything!
“It takes place at The Flooring Show and I’m nervous because when you get up there, there’s hundreds and hundreds of people who are walking round and standing watching you while you work.
“There’ll be about 50-60,000 people walking through the doors and the judges are like hawks - they don’t miss a thing.”
John, a finalist last year, will have his work marked by top professionals in the industry: Ian James, of the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers, Richard Renouf, a flooring consultant for major companies, and Jeff Hardy, a previous winner and judge since the 1980s.
The tough competition takes place on September 16 and 17, John having three hours to start fitting the carpet on the Sunday, and three hours to finish his work on the Monday.
In June, he competed in the challenging semi-finals with a timed practical test, having also had to complete British Standard exams in March to be selected.
John said: “In the competition, everything has to be done to British Standards or above. Over 90 per cent of floors aren’t fitted to British Standards and this competition is to promote the standards, those who are the best in the business, and to encourage people to have things fitted properly.
“I think I have a good chance as I came very close last year, and the atmosphere is brilliant.
“In 2017 this chap from Newcastle came down to watch me, as well as a chap from Letchworth and a couple of blokes from Hemel.
“I’ve never met them, they just follow my work. You get a lot of support from other fitters throughout the UK.”
John runs John Wright Carpets and Flooring, of Richmond Road, with his partner, Tracey, and is Bedfordshire’s only Carpet Master Fitter with the National Institute of Carpet and Floorlayers.
The LBO featured John in February when he fitted ex-soldier Jamie Hull’s floors for free, after hearing of how Jamie had survived third had survived 60 per cent third degree burns when his plane caught fire in 2007.
John concluded: “Jamie knows I made the finals again and I would like to say thank you to the people of Leighton Buzzard and our customer base for their support.”