VIDEO: Once in a lifetime prize snapped up by Crawley gingerbread maker

A young gingerbread maker from Crawley has snapped up a ‘once in a lifetime’ prize by winning a business competition for 16-25-year-olds.

Sam French, 21, from North Road, Three Bridges, triumphed in the final of Young Start-up Talent at Lingfield Park Hotel last night (Thursday February 28), beating off five other ideas to secure a prize of almost £60,000 worth of business tools.

His idea, ‘Sam’s Kitchen’, themed soft gingerbread, wowed judges to win the competition, aimed at 16-25-year-olds in the Gatwick Diamond with the drive to make their business dream a reality.

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After receiving the trophy, Sam said: “I’m so excited. I’m excited for the future, all the people I’m going to meet, all the things I’m going to achieve.

“It’s been an absolutely fantastic process. I’ve been able to meet some amazing people and that is all I can ask for.”

He added; “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Starting off selling McDonalds toys in his dad’s automobilia stall when he was younger, he said he had always been fascinated by business. He is already selling his gingerbread at Tulleys Farm and thanked the staff there for giving him the first chance to showcase his product.

His parents Jill and Terry said they were extremely proud of what their son had achieved, and Sam had been rewarded for the amount of effort he put into the competition.

Asked why they chose Sam, Matthew Tyson, one of the judges and a director at chartered accountants Richard Place Dobson, said: “It tasted really good, because at the end of the day that’s what people will buy.

“He’s got a lovely enthusiasm about him.

“He was very infectious and he’s a very likeable character.

“We could see how it can work, you really can. The fact that he has got a brand already and the beginnings of a business, and this competition will help him get the bits that will take it into a fully-fledged business.”

Young Start-up Talent is the brainchild of Lorraine Nugent and Matt Turner, managing directors of Media Word Waves and Creative Pod, and was celebrating its third year.

For more information visit his website.

For the full report see next week’s Crawley Observer, Mid Sussex Times and West Sussex County Times.