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James Taylor wins gold at WorldSkills butchery final
Published:  20 November, 2017

James Taylor of Simpsons Butchers, Lincolnshire, has been crowned champion of the WorldSkills butchery competition 2017.

The win rounds up a storming year for the young butcher, who was named Meat Trades Journal’s Marco Peerdeman Young Butcher of the Year in November and represented Britain at the International Young Butcher Competition in Austria.

“I am very proud of the win, especially after all the hard work and time put into it, not just by me but by everyone that has supported me,” said Taylor after collecting his gold medal in Birmingham on Saturday 18 November.

“It is a big achievement and has topped off a good year because I won Young Butcher of the Year from Meat Trades Journal and was part of a UK international competition. It should be a massive boost to my career and confidence and, hopefully, it will push me on to grow even further in the meat industry.”

Lucy Webster of Taylors Farm Shop, north-west England, became the WorldSkills butchery competition’s first-ever woman winner, taking home silver. James Gracey from Southern Regional College bagged bronze.

On her win, Webster said: “I am extremely proud to become the first girl medallist and I hope it raises the profile of butchery and inspire girls all over the country to get into butchery as a career.”

The win comes after a two-day competition at Birmingham’s NEC from 16 to 17 November. Focusing on essential skills required to be a cutting-edge butcher, competitors had to make ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook products, fresh sausages, a full barbecue range and were tested on deboning, seam butchery and display work.

Over one tonne of meat was used in the competition, which the three judges said was extremely close, with a competitive standard higher than ever before.

“James is a cracking lad, he’s represented GB, he’s won Young Butcher of the Year and his whole attitude and passion is there and he carries himself really well,” said judge Viv Harvey, an independent meat consultant.

“Like all of them in the ring, they have a passion for butchery. James is stronger because he’s got more competitions under his belt. He’s got a matured approached – he’s a great ambassador for the industry.”

Alongside Harvey, WorldSkills butchery competition was judged by Roger Kelsey, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) and Keith Fisher, chief executive of the Institute of Meat.

The six finalists represented the greatest young butchers in the UK. All six had to win a series of regional qualifiers before appearing at the final.

Alongside Taylor, Webster and Gracey, were finalists Joseph O’Gorman and Martin Nann, both Southern Regional College and Dylan Gillespie, Clogher Valley Meats, Northern Ireland.

Meat Trades Journal is the exclusive media partner of the WorldSkills butchery competition. Other sponsors include the NFMFT, the Institute of Meat, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales and the FTC (Food & Drink Training & Education Council).