South Tyneside barber Allan Stone has proved himself a cut above by claiming the nation’s top male hair grooming accolade.
Allan, 41, owner of Stoney’s barber shop in Laygate Lane, South Shields, has been named a Master Barber – one of only a handful of professionals to gain the title each year – after passing the toughest of tests.
Experts studied his skills as he worked on models over three days at Sheffield’s Savills salon – the current British Barbershop of the Year.
Allan, who also lectures barbering part-time at South Tyneside College, says he is thrilled to be officially recognised as at the pinnacle of his profession.
He said: “I’m very proud to be named a Master Barber. Very few people each year are offered the opportunity to gain the title and, fortunately, I was able to prove that I’m good enough.
“Savills is a superb salon and the people who work there really know their stuff. I am the only Master Barber in South Shields, and I think that’s a wonderful achievement.”
The accolade comes just two months after Allen celebrated 25 years in business and coincides with his work being featured in the current edition of Modern Barber, the UK’s leading male grooming magazine.
He recruited four of his regular customers to show off their latest styles for the photoshoot.
Father-of-one Allan added: “The magazine approached me to have my work shown in its prestigious Portfolio section.
“All the models are my customers, who I took up to a studio in Newcastle for a professional photo shoot.
“After all these years, I love my job just as much as I did when I started.
“All in all, it’s been a wonderful year.
“I also really enjoy working at South Tyneside College and showing students the tricks of the trade. It’s great to be able to pass that on.”
Allan began his career at Saks in Newcastle aged 15, before working at his current salon, which he bought soon afterwards when the owner retired.
He now employs two full-time and two part-time members of staff, and an apprentice.
Allan has taught at the college’s Westoe campus in St Georges Avenue, South Shields, for two years.
Alison Maynard, Principal of South Tyneside College’s Professional and Vocational College, said: “Allan’s skills are outstanding and I’m delighted for him that has gained this very prestigious title.
“He has been a feature of South Tyneside’s business community for many years and his business is very well-known and highly thought of.
“Allan does excellent work for the college’s students, who gain greatly from his expertise.
“It’s credit to him that he is willing to pass on his skills to a new generation.”
The Master Barber certificate is accredited by the British Barbers’ Association, the voice of the industry.
Stoney’s barber shop is open 8am to 5.30pm from Monday to Wednesday, 8am to 7pm on Thursday, 8am to 6pm on Friday, and 7.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday.