Sticking at it for third place in national contest
A RETIRED lorry driver whittled down the opposition to win third place in The British and UK National Stickmaking Competition.
The contest showcases some of the finest craftsmanship from around the country.
And 68-year-old Graham Clayton, of Grimsby Road, Waltham, came third in the novice maker category.
He said: "I entered the competition last March and I have put forward about 15 sticks in six different shows. The winners of the competition are decided by the number of points gained from the previous shows in the season.
"I thought I might be in with a chance of getting something and I am extremely happy I got third place.
"Next year, I will have another go and will be trying to get first place.
"Each stick takes me about 38 hours to make. It is a slow process of varnishing and rubbing down each piece of wood.
"I have used several different types of burr wood, as well as maple and Indian buffalo horn.
"I get my materials by going into woodland with permission and finding suitable pieces. Then I straighten the shanks by steaming them."
Mr Clayton keeps every stick he makes, but sometimes gives them to family and friends as presents.
"The best thing about making sticks is the satisfaction in creating something unique and going to all the shows," he said.
"I have only been making sticks since November last year. I was taught by David Blanch, who is a British and UK champion, and lives in Cleethorpes.
"I want to thank him because he gave me some valuable tips."
Champion stick maker Mr Blanch, 75, of Taylor's Avenue, has regularly appeared in the Grimsby Telegraph.
He said: "I taught Graham over about six months and he took to it well.
"I want to congratulate him on his success. It is all about practising and getting to know the right shape for the stick.
"If he keeps entering competitions he will continue to do well."