An ice sculptor who grew up in Sussex represented Britain in the first world championships in Finland.
Nick Smith, and his partner Darren Jackson, came joint fourth in the Cave Ice Carving World Championships 2017, which ended on Sunday (February 19).
The pair created a four-metre-high ice sculpture of a brown bear and its cub, as it is Finland’s national animal.
Although disappointed not to win, Nick was proud of their performance and being able to represent his country, as well as winning £1,000.
“It was really hard, it could’ve been a lot colder and the ice was different to what we’re used to and I was nervous, but I learned a lot,” he said.
“Even though we came fourth, I’m still pleased I went there and experienced it.
“But doing it for the UK in the world championships and in front of all these people, it was nerve-wracking.
Nick spent his childhood in Hastings and was helped by the Respond Academy, now Respond 3.0, which supports disadvantaged teens, as he admits he was a ‘little s***’, but he has forged a career through his artwork.
Respond co-founder Jc Mcfee said Nick is an inspiration to youngsters in the town.
“Nick didn’t have an easy life with school and stuff like that, we don’t always go on about that stuff, but it’s good for kids to know you can succeed,” she said.
“We are so proud of him, he’s a fantastic role model for young people.”
Nick, who used to be a tattoo artist, grabbed the attention of Hamilton Ice Sculptors in London after his Buzz Lightyear snowman went viral in 2013, which he made for his son.
The father-of-two’s work with Hamilton has lead to many interesting projects including creating a giant polar bear for Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
Nick also hopes his story can encourage youngsters to avoid going down the wrong path, as he says he could have done were it not for hard work and dedication.
“I want to inspire people to believe in themselves and get out there,” he said.
“Everyone has a talent, it’s just a case of finding it.”
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