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Barbara Watts becomes first female Master Barber in Northern Ireland

By Ann W Schmidt

Published 14/10/2016

Cut above: award winning East Belfast barber Barbara Watts
Cut above: award winning East Belfast barber Barbara Watts
Cut above: award winning East Belfast barber Barbara Watts
Cut above: award winning East Belfast barber Barbara Watts

A Belfast hairdresser has become the first - and only - Northern Ireland woman to be named a British Master Barber.

Barbara Watts received the award from the British Master Barber Association.

The 46-year-old said she feels "absolutely amazing".

"I just feel so honoured. Buzzing, I think, is the right word."

Barbara has been cutting hair since she left school.

Almost 16 years ago she opened her shop The Barber's Chair on the Beersbridge Road.

The salon won Barber of the Year at the Northern Ireland Hair and Beauty Awards in July.

"We got that and it probably encouraged me and gave me a deserved kick in the backside to just keep going," Barbara added.

She said the award inspired her to try for the British Master Barber accreditation.

The process includes sending off a video of a 10-minute haircut, using all the barber instruments and tools. The video is reviewed by a team who decide if the barber merits the award.

Barbara said she hopes her accreditation will inspire more women to try for the award.

"The fact that I have got it, will probably encourage a lot more women to chase their dreams as well," she added.

Barbara said her customers are just as excited as she is.

Yesterday she received a personalised card in the mail to congratulate her and when she announced it on social media, she said thousands of people viewed, shared and liked the posts.

Most of all, Barbara's husband is delighted. "He said, 'I was always proud, but now I'm even more proud'."

She addes: "It takes hard work. You just have to keep at a level and wanting to up your level and your standards that wee bit and still keep it in a range for the community that you're working."

Since Barbara started The Barber's Chair, she has been joined by barbers, Jack Tittensor and Cameron Orr. She is hoping to get them into competitions too.

Belfast Telegraph

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