Awards success for young Findon blacksmith

Barnabas Cheeseman with the Frank Day Trophy
Barnabas Cheeseman with the Frank Day Trophy

A young blacksmith is hoping to open his own forge after winning a respected award.

Barnabas Cheeseman, 20, of Horsham Road, Findon, graduated with triple distinction in the extended national diploma in blacksmithing and metalwork at Plumpton College.

He was recently awarded the Frank Day Trophy, which is judged by the Blacksmiths Guild.

Barnabas explained: “The trophy is a 100 year-old tradition and it’s for anyone with up to three years of training.

“You apply and they come and judge your work and if they think it’s worthy, you are shortlisted.”

This year, Barnabas was also awarded first place in metalsmithing at Young Craftsman of the Year, achieving third overall.

It was the second year running that he had won the 
award.

He decided to take up blacksmithing shortly before he started college, after seeing a demonstration at a village 
show.

“I was at the Parham Village Show four years ago and I saw the Wessex Guild demonstrating.

“My grandfather was a blacksmith and so was my father, so I decided to do that.”

Barnabas was keen to highlight that the course at Plumpton was “thriving” and that his trade was not a dying art.

“A lot of people think it is but it’s not. It’s just changed, it’s an art form now.

“I don’t have a favourite thing to make but I enjoy contemporary crafts work.

The newly-qualified blacksmith had planned to open his own forge in Findon but was 
unable to find suitable premises.

He is now looking to open one near Ashdown Forest.

He said: “It’s through the excellent training, tuition and encouragement of Ricky Delaney, my blacksmithing tutor, Cath Laffan, my jewellery and
silversmithing tutor, and the rest of the metalworking 
department at Plumpton College that I have learnt these skills and made this all possible.”