A Melton stonemason is celebrating after winning the county’s most prestigious award for tradespeople after helping build a luxury house in Old Dalby using limestone.
Paul Knight (46), who lives in Dalby Road, and Oakham stonemason James Kearney, scooped the coveted LJCC Merit of Craftsmanship Award after judges visited the four-bed property they worked on in Paradise Lane.
They were nominated by HSSP Architects, based at Pera Business Park in Melton, because of the exceptional level of skill and meticulous attention to detail they demonstrated.
Paul said: “To say we were shocked to win is an understatement.
“We never put ourselves in for things like this.
“We rely on word of mouth and recommendations for work, so to be nominated for the Paradise Lane project was an achievement in itself.
“We are extremely proud of the work we did there.
“It took us 11 months to build and to be recognised by the industry means a lot to us.”
Architect James Brindley, who put forward the duo for the award, said: “The scale of the work they did was phenomenal.
“Paradise Lane is a large site but the quality throughout the whole building was absolutely fantastic.
“It is meticulous work and to think that two only people did it is incredible.
“You would expect a whole team to have done something like that.
“Stonemasonry is an exceedingly rare, and dying skill, and they are absolute craftsmen - it is inspiring to watch them work.”
Judges for the Leicestershire Joint Consultative Committee for the Building Industry (LJCC) visited Paradise Lane and liked the overall appearance of the property but they were extremely impressed by the quality of the stonework.
Their citation reads: “The judges were very impressed by the attention to detail, and obvious precision employed in the sizing, cutting and dressing of the stone work.
“Along with the nature of the pointing, the overall appearance proved that this had been a labour of love by experienced craftsmen.”
The award ceremony, where Paul and James received their honour, also helped raise £1,500 for the Leicestershire and Rutland Hospice, LOROS.
The duo are currently working in Melton - restoring the stonework at the former War Memorial Hospital site in Ankle Hill, where part of it is being converted to apartments for the Sowden Group.