THE hard work of two Wee County tradesmen has been recognised at this year's On The Tools Awards in Birmingham.

Richie Maxwell, from Tillicoultry, and his apprentice Richard MacDonald, of Alva, both snapped up an accolade after their craftsmanship at RDM Elite Builders impressed the judging panel.

The 31-year-old, who was Britain's Top Tradesperson in 2016, won Bricklayer of the Year while his co-worker scooped Apprentice of the Year.

Richie spoke about his joy at ousting worthy competitor Tom Hutchison, when he said: "It was a bit unexpected because it went down to the final two so it was 50-50 whether I would win or not but I did. It was great competition.

"There was about 350-plus people there. It was really good, just everybody was having good fun and there was no animosity. Everyone was made up, chuffed to be there and for each other.

"It's a great achievement knowing all my hard work and keen eye for quality doesn't go unseen. It was brilliant."

The brickie was quick to heap praise on youngster Richard, who he has known for a number of years.

"My company nominated Richard so we were more pleased for him," he said. "He's a really good guy and he works really hard.

"He wants to achieve, he can push on. This will give him more incentive to become a quality tradesman."

The teenager splits his time working for Richard and attending Forth Valley College in Falkirk and he admitted it was all a bit of a shock.

He said: "I was pretty happy, pretty surprised but proud. It was good. My family are proud of me as well."

The 17-year-old recognised the impact Richie was having in his education in the industry, when he added: "He's a good tradesman. He's good at building and everything always looks really good.

"I'm learning from the best. I get on with him well.

"I just want to keep getting better all the time and be good at it."