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Special Feature

Britain’s Favourite Plumber is Dawn! Sarah Allen met the winner of City Plumbing Supplies’ competition To say Dawn Venzetti is among the most humble of winners would be an understatement. That’s not to say she doesn’t care, either. The irony of the Plumb-Hers owner receiving the Britain’s Favourite Plumber title is that the reason she won was because of exactly that: she cares. “One of my customers nominated me,” she tells me. Not surprising when she reveals she “can’t sleep at night unless I know that I’ve done a good job. And I still don’t sleep at night when I think that I have!” It’s all starting to make sense. “Then other people started voting.” Hundreds, in fact, as Venzetti pipped over 300 other plumbers to the post, receiving a Peugeot Partner van and £1,500-worth of product from City Plumbing Supplies. She probably thought somebody was playing a prank when Sue Laybourne got in touch to tell her the good news. “She said: ‘I just want you to know you’ve won.’ And I was

Safe and sound on solid ground

The winner takes all: Dawn Venzetti claims her prizes

like: ‘Yeah, right. I don’t think so.’ “I was a bit gob-smacked, really, because you don’t necessarily expect something like that to happen to you. But I was absolutely thrilled.” Was the thrill made sweeter by the fact that a woman had received such an accolade in this undeniably maledominated industry? Not necessarily. “I’m happy because it gives a bit more advertising to women being in the industry. People do know there are women out there, but it still seems to be a major surprise to a lot of people. So I think it’s a boost to women. Hopefully, that’s what it’s going to do. “I’m not worried about me, but it is just nice to get out there and show that, hey, we’re here; actually, we are pretty good. Come and seek us out. So, from that perspective, that’s brilliant. “Anything I can do to promote women in the trade has got to be a good thing. That’s the biggest boost.” Venzetti comes from a


mechanical engineering background with the Royal Air Forces, where she worked for seven years. “I couldn’t get promoted for a long time.” Staying in the trade, she moved into IT, working for a “young company. They were still developing, and I developed with the company,” she said, which led to promotions. She then went on to work for a heating manufacturer – where she had completed an intensive plumbing course – before deciding to go it alone five years ago. “That was the scariest part: going out to people’s homes [knowing] you could potentially wreck their homes!” But she was more prepared for the task than she thought. “Working on an aircraft, you work on things like hydraulic systems, air systems, you don’t so much have water. But it’s all mechanical engineering, and plumbing is quite similar. The fundamental skills are already there, and I just wanted to do something hands-on, where I could learn but also be very

practical. I’ve moved around on a few occasions and you end up where you have to do the kitchen, the bathroom, you have plumbing issues; and I knew that I was okay at doing stuff like that. So I thought, I may as well turn my hand to earning a living [doing something] I know I’m actually good at. So plumbing is ideal.” So are her prizes, as she says of the van: “It’s a lovely little thing. It’s fantastic.” The products will no doubt also come in handy. “The thing that’s so frustrating is, I tend to try and buy well; I don’t try and buy something that’s cheap and cheerful and isn’t going to last. But, nowadays, even if you buy well, it doesn’t last as long as it used to. It’s incredible what you end up getting through.” Business, Venzetti informs me, is doing well. But she is by no means the type to blow cash on frivolity. When pushed, she offers: “Well, I’ve got quite a nice house in Chatenham that we need to do a bit of work with.” Specifically, an extension for its “impractical” kitchen. Venzetti recently completed a 225ft abseil for charity down the side of Capital Tower in Waterloo Road. “I haven’t done anything like that for 20 years and my head for heights is definitely not what it used to be.” But this isn’t the scariest thing Venzetti has ever done. You’ll have to read next month’s installment for that. On winning, Venzetti beams: “It’s nice that people go out of their way, even in this day and age.” Good service is nothing to keep quiet about. HVP 285

Britain's Favourite Plumber  

Sarah Allen met the winner of City Plumbing Supplies’ competition

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