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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007, 18:05 GMT 19:05 UK
Englishman is top French plumber
Oliver Watson (Pic: MEN Syndication)
Oliver Watson trained as a plumber in France (Pic: MEN Syndication)
A 26-year-old plumber from Merseyside has been nominated as the best apprentice plumber in France.

Oliver Watson, from Southport, will receive the prestigious Meilleur Apprenti de France award at the French Senate in Paris in September.

He said that the judges would be surprised to realise that he is English - a competitor's work is just given a number to avoid any bias.

Mr Watson will accept his prize from French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Speaking about the presentation, Mr Watson said: "I'll speak to him with my broken French and let him know that I'm English.

"When you do the competition you don't give your name, you just have a number so it eliminates bias with the judges. I think they'll be a bit surprised."

Traditional methods

Mr Watson said he had quit a college design course in Manchester three years ago and went to visit his parents who had moved to France.

While there he was given an opportunity to train as a plumber, which led to him entering the competition.

The task was to use traditional plumbing methods to make a complicated pipe work to specific measurements.

"I was working on it after my day job and every weekend. It took about 150 hours to complete," he said.

"I knew myself that it was very, very accurate and I was confident it would go far."

Mr Watson now works for a Manchester plumbing firm.

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