South East Wales

Fishmonger's top prize on 41st try

Mike Crates
Image caption Mike Crates has been runner-up 19 times during his four decades of competing

A fishmonger has won top prize in a national skills competition after 41 years of trying.

Mike Crates, 56, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, has come second 19 times in that time but had never lost the ambition to claim the title.

The British Fish Craft Championship competition has been running for 61 years and is now held in Cardiff Bay.

Mr Crates, who has worked at Ashton's in Cardiff since leaving school at 15, said his ambition had been realised.

Competitors had to enter five out of a choice of eight contests and included fish and poultry preparation.

Entrants could receive points for skill, speed and accuracy of weight once cut, depending on which contests they chose.

Over 90 competitors from independent fishmongers and supermarket chains took part.

Mr Crates said: "It's hard to believe after so many years of competing and coming so close, but it feels great.

"Every year I think, I'll give it one last shot, and now my ambition has been realised."

His boss, Jonathan Adams of Ashton's - newly elected president of the National Federation of Fishmongers - was delighted.

"Mike always gives it his all - he's been asked to be a judge so many times but he loves competing and giving it his best shot this year has really paid off."

The contest is held every August Bank Holiday weekend and used to move locations but for the past five years has taken place in Cardiff Bay as part of the city's harbour festival.

Victory after all these years has not blunted the ambitions of Mr Crates who is considering a defence of his title next year.

He said: "You never know. I might be on a lucky roll."

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