It was a case of hair today and gone next month to the national finals of a top hairdressing and theatrical make-up competition for students of Redhill's East Surrey College (ESC).

For a record number of ESC students won their categories in the regional heat of the Association of Hairdressers and Therapists (AHT) National Competition 2014, held in Epsom recently.

Seven are now going forward to the finals, being held at the Blackpool Winter Gardens on March 17.

Fifteen students from Level 3 Theatrical Special Effect, Level 2 Hair Apprenticeship, Level 2 Barbering and Level 3 Hairdressing courses at ESC competed at the event against students from other colleges and training providers. The ESC students did their college proud, winning three first places, two second places and one third place in the competition. David Rabjohns, head of hair, beauty and spa at East Surrey College, said: “I am really proud of all of the students.

“They all worked so hard and really showed their creativity.”

He said: “The AHT competition is a great opportunity to have the high standard of our students' work validated by other professionals in the industry. “The students really enjoy competing and are now looking forward to the national finals in Blackpool. “It will be a very exciting experience for them and a prestigious event to be involved in, which would be great for their CVs.”

Among the regional heat winners, Kerry Brown, a Level 3 Theatrical Special Effect student from Merstham, took first place in the Body Painting Theme – Artists category, Georgiana Gubby, a Level 2 Hair Apprentice from Redhill, took first place in the Blow Dry category, and Adele Motakef, a Level 3 Hairdressing student from Purley, won First Place in the Level 3 Skills Challenge category. Second Place in the Body Painting category was won by Emma Wheel, Level 3 Theatrical Special Effect student from Croydon, Elliot Martin, Level 2 Hair Apprentice from Merstham, gained second place in the Blow Dry category, and Level 3 Theatrical Special Effect students Tanisha Church and Lauren Gregory both won third place in the Team Bridal category.