Mary Cotterill from Stroud Butchery has been named the best of the best in a male dominated industry.
The 38-year-old who has always wanted to be a butcher has been honoured with Apprentice of the Year in Meat Processing Certificate 11.
But that’s not all – she also received the Phil Darby Memorial Award for a student who has endured hardship and obstacles during their apprenticeship.
“I pretty much knew I was getting apprentice of the year but I had no idea about the memorial award,” she said.
“I was a stay-at-home mum with a four-year-old when I started the apprenticeship so had to balance family, doing heavy work lifting carcasses, long hours in the shop and then doing bookwork at home on a Sunday.
“But I was aiming for high marks, so I was doing extra work and made sure I listened to everything Shane told me as my boss.
“I knew it was for my own benefit and the hard work has paid off.”
The awards ceremony was held at at Wests Leagues Club in Newcastle on Friday night, June 26 and Mary said it was a “fantastic night”.
“It was a bit like Christmas Day – a big lead-up to it and then it was all over very quickly,” she said.
“My parents, an aunt, Shane and kids and a few of my brothers and sisters came with me.
“It was a thrill to receive both awards, they mean so much to me.”