British Beefeaters welcomes Leeds City College student

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Blakey will be joining the British Beefeaters Team GB as it prepares for the World Butchers’ Challenge. 

Blakey, who is a student at Leeds City College, will be taking part in the Young Apprentice Butchery Competition on Australia’s Gold Coast in September. When Blakey isn’t studying, she works at Marley’s Butchers in Ripon.

All butchery apprentices at Leeds City College were invited to put their name forward to represent Great Britain in the competition. To showcase why they should be chosen, they had to write a 500-word essay explaining why they should be considered.

Blakey was chosen to represent her country due to her “passion” for her trade and “previous competition experience”. The young butcher recently won the Welsh heat of the WorldSkills butchery competition, and hopes to advance to the finals at Birmingham’s NEC later this year.

“It’s an amazing opportunity for her, she’s going to get so much out of it,” said her mentor James Richardson, who works in the butchery department at Leeds City College.

“The experience and knowledge she’s going to get from travelling to Australia and mixing with the team and doing the study tour is immense. You can’t put a figure on what she’s going to get out of that. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Richardson explained to Meat Trades Journal that her attitude will help her performance. “Her first question was, ‘When can I come in and start practicing?’”

Danny Upson, team manager for the British Beefeaters, said he’s “very pleased” to have Blakey join the team, and believes she has the “skills and determination” to succeed in the competition.

“It’s so important to support our young butchers and help them succeed in our retail butchery industry. Events like this really raise the profile of butchers and it gives a positive image that it’s cool to be a butcher!”

The World Butchers' Challenge, formerly known as the Tri Nations, sees Great Britain take on Australia, New Zealand and France compete in a three hour contest to be crowned the best in their field.

The rest of Team GB consists of:

Maurice Stephenson
Team captain
Nigel Fredericks, London

Tom Wood
Huntley’s Country Stores, Lancashire

Gary Raeburn
Product finisher
Forbes Raeburn, Aberdeenshire

Gary Simpson
Product finisher
Simpsons Butchers, Lincolnshire

Damon Buckingham
Product finisher
Black Barn Butchers, Surrey

Michael Dufton
Knitsley Farm Shop, Consett

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