BEAUTY therapy students have won high praise from industry judges in an inter-college contest designed to test their skills.

Make-up artists and hair stylist Kate Pymm, who works in TV and film and Kerry Lewis, who runs a mobile My Little Beauty business from a classic 1962 Airstream caravan, were amazed at their talents as students competed in the salon.

The two successful businesswomen officiated over a contest which pitted Darlington College against New College Durham at home in a competition themed on the 1960s.

Students had just 45 minutes to transform their models into Swinging Sixties icons Twiggy and Audrey Hepburn using all the tools of the trade.

Kate, of Middlesbrough, and Darlington-based Kerry judged the efforts of students, who are studying Level 2 beauty therapy.

They assessed their ability to blend the make-up, the accuracy of their work, as well as shading and application.

Darlington College's contestants were Sarah Linsley, 17, of Thornton Watless and Amy-Jessica Coulson, 18, of Northallerton.

New Durham College was represented by Danelle Ferguson, 18, of Durham and Amy Gibson, 17, of Ferryhill.

The regional contest involves colleges at Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Gateshead, Bishop Auckland, East Durham, Hartlepool and Stockton Riverside.

Kate said: "You should all be really proud of yourselves as the level you have achieved is really very good."

Kerry added: "The standards were very good and there was very little to choose between competitors with some great attention to detail."

After long deliberation they chose Amy Gibson as the narrow winner who will now go on to the next heat.

For more information on Darlington College courses go to or phone (01325) 503030.