After a brilliant response to the new Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship, apprentice Rachel Lok has been chosen as the winner and lucky recipient of £500 worth of workshop tools.
Scholarship winner Rachel, had her first taste of saddlery during a week long course, studying under Master Saddler David May and hasn’t looked back since. Rachel received the award from Richard Brown of Abbey England at BETA International.
Said Rachel: “Saddlery brings together my passion for horses, my creativity and my enjoyment of crafts.
“I am delighted to win such a great scholarship from Abbey England, I am excited to start using the fantastic tools the prize money will get me and continue a lifetime of learning more within the saddlery industry.”
Rachel’s training has included completing the two year Cordwainers Diploma at Capel Manor College where she thoroughly enjoyed her time and during the course successfully achieved her City and Guilds Level 1 and all three Level 2 qualifications, even passing the bridle exam with a fractured arm in a cast.
Taking every opportunity she could, Rachel competed in saddlery competitions whilst at Capel Manor College receiving a Premium Award at the Society of Master Saddlers’ National Competition and being awarded first prize at BETA International last year for making a pair of plain reins in the SMS competitions.
Alongside her diploma, Rachel was awarded first prize in the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers harness bridle competition. Influenced by her father’s heritage, Rachel gave her winning harness bridle a Chinese design. The winning design can now be seen on display at Saddlers Hall, after the Worshipful Company of Saddlers requested to have it on loan.
Said Richard Brown of Abbey England: “The Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship applications have been outstanding. It is wonderful to see so many young and up and coming saddlers who are breathing new life into the industry and are without doubt the future of the saddlery world as they embrace new ideas and technologies combined with the history and heritage British saddlery is so well known for.”
Since leaving Capel Manor College, Rachel has relocated to Devon after accepting a role as an apprentice at Nutwell Saddlery, a locally owned business in Lympstone. Rachel is enjoying learning all about the art of saddle fitting from their experienced and committed team.
In addition to her apprenticeship program in which she will complete all the Level 3 City and Guilds exams, Rachel is completing the Advanced Scheme at the Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury, under Master Saddler Mark Romain.
Alongside her development Rachel is keen to learn more about lorinery and is undertaking personal research into the industry. Rachel’s long term career goal is ultimately to become a Master Saddler.
Added Richard: “We were delighted to launch the Abbey England Scholarship and hope the £500 prize will help Rachel progress in her career. She is clearly fuelled with creativity and passion alongside her thirst for knowledge within the British saddle industry. We look forward to watching her develop within the industry whilst doing something she truly loves, which shows through her work.”
Five runner-ups each received a piece of leather from the Clayton Leather Group they were Amanda Steen, Meg Webb, Lucy Ellis, Rebecca Duglan and Tom Blachford.