THE youngest member of the design team at Rossendale’s largest company has just scooped a national award.

Sophie Clayton works as a designer at Rossendale Interiors, in Stacksteads, Lancashire,the retail arm of kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturer J and J Ormerod, JJO, based in Bacup having started as an apprentice.

She entered the 2020 Fusion Inspiration Awards 2018 and virtual kitchen design she created won the Decorative Cloud Category.

Sophie, 22, from Bacup, said: “I started designing last January and I have never entered a competition before and just decided to have a go.

“I was delighted to receive an email to say that I had won and that, out of more than 100 entries, another two of my designs also made it to the top five in their categories.

“The design that won took me around four hours to create because I added a lot of detail and made it as realistic as possible.

“2020 Fusion is software programme used all over the world and it took me quite a while to learn it.”

Nicole Mentzen, design expert at 2020, said: “Sophie created a home rather than a space. Her use of 2020 Cloud decorative items sprinkled throughout the room gives the design a homey, lived-in vibe.”

In August 2013, Sophie began her apprenticeship with J and J Ormerod, JJO, learning how to be a CAD designer at Rossendale Interiors in Stacksteads and also working on reception in the main office. She gained designer status in January last year.

Sophie said: “I began as a CAD designer at JJO so I would take the flat plans and make a 3D image for the designer to then show back to the client.

“When I meet a client I can take the ideas and immediately create the CAD design so rather than just showing a two dimensional plan of their home, customers can see a realistic image and see how their home will look.

“I am the youngest staff member in Rossendale Interiors and the youngest designer JJO have ever had.

“I think it has been useful to have gained my qualifications on the job and learn all about the business, rather that study at university and then be looking for work with a huge debt.

“The most rewarding aspect of my is going to the customer’s house after my design has been installed and seeing that they are happy with it and I have created something that they wanted.”

Retail Manager Sharon Mawdesley said: “Sophie has showed potential since she started with JJO, which is why last January she became our youngest designer. She is very talented and has found her niche. We are delighted with her success.”

She has won a £100 Amazon voucher and will feature in the customer spotlight.