A Newtownabbey plumber has beaten off tough competition to be awarded the coveted title of Britain’s Top Tradesman 2014.
Fifty-seven-year-old Raymond McKnight who owns Hillview Heating, was shortlisted from almost 6,000 entries.
After winning his regional final, he went head-to-head with ten other national finalists in the contest organised by trade supplier Screwfix.
Despite a gruelling interview at Wembley Stadium from a judging panel made up of industry experts representing the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) – the judges’ decision to crown Raymond champion was unanimous.
As the winner, he will receive a brand new Toyota truck worth £28,000, and over £1,000 worth of Screwfix products.
Raymond said: “I can’t believe the judges chose me as the winner of Screwfix’s Britain’s Top Tradesman 2014, I am absolutely flabbergasted.
“It has been a truly amazing journey to get to this point, one which I have thoroughly enjoyed, especially meeting all the other finalists.
“I take real pride in my work, and I have worked hard to make sure I have a great rapport with my customers, treating every home I visit as if it were my own. I’m thrilled to receive this title and the fantastic prize.”
This year, the judges looked for the tradesman who impressed them most in areas such as devotion to their work, professionalism, qualifications and outstanding skills. They felt that the reason Raymond stood out from rest was his wealth of experience, knowledge, skill set and personality.
Screwfix marketing director John Mewett said: “Every year, we are overwhelmed by the high standard of work and willingness to go the extra mile. We feel it is important that this hard work is recognised.
“Raymond is a genuinely great guy who does a fantastic job day in, day out for his customers. He passes his knowledge down to apprentices, helping to bring them into the industry, keeps up to date with the latest technologies so he can run his business effectively and has outstanding customer references.
“He is also committed to charity work and travels abroad every year to places like Kosovo and Romania to install heating in hospitals and children centres. He truly is Britain’s Top Tradesman and is a brilliant ambassador for the trade.”