Prince Charles presents craft skills award to St Albans upholsterer
- Credit: Photo courtesy of James Fletcher
THE Prince of Wales has presented a St Albans upholsterer with a certificate and £2,500 cheque for her contribution to the craft industry at a ceremony hosted by television presenter Kirstie Allsopp.
Wendy Shorter, owner of Wendy Shorter Interiors, based at Coursers Farm, Coursers Road, in Colney Heath, won the national award for encouraging craft skills in informal settings.
During the Crafts Skills Awards 2013 ceremony, held in London last Thursday, it was revealed that the UK crafts sector now contributes £4.4 billion to the economy – making it equal in size to the British petrochemical industry.
Despite this, 80 per cent of craftspeople admitted they did not pass on their skills and some skills, such as parchment-making, were at risk of dying out in the UK.
Wendy was secretary for legendary film director Stanley Kubrick for over six years before setting up the largest upholstery and soft furnishing training centre in the country.
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She said that when she collected her award from the Prince of Wales, he showed that he had a great sense of humour.
Prince Charles asked her: “Was it worth it?” She replied: “Yes, it was really worth it.”
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When Wendy was later waiting in the winners’ line to chat with His Royal Highness, he shook her hand, told her “well done” and quizzed her about her business and student numbers. About 80 pupils attend her upholstery lessons each week.
She told him that one of her former students worked for a royal warrant holder.
Her next challenge is to encourage more young people through the upholstery course and into apprenticeships.