A Shipton Bellinger beauty therapist has been chosen from thousands of people to make it to the final of the UK Hair and Beauty Awards.

Anna Nikola, owner of Simply Beautiful in Pennings Road, has been selected under the category of ‘Lash Stylist of the Year’.

Anna, 25, said the news has come as “quite a boost as lot of local beauticians have been feeling down because of current circumstances”.

In April 2020, Advertiser had shared Anna’s story on how hairdressers and beauty therapists in the area were banding together to support each other to survive the lockdown.

Businesses across Tidworth, Shipton Bellinger and Amesbury had posted a collage photograph with the message: “We can’t wait to do your treatments again. Please stay home, please stay safe.”

Anna had to close her salon before the first lockdown, saying the health of herself and her customers trumped any concerns for her business.

The self-employed businesswoman, was however, one of the five per cent of people unable to claim help from the government, because she did not have a full year of tax returns, after returning from living abroad last year.

She was forced to live off just her husband’s salary, and whilst she had been given a mortgage break, was having to pay for food, car bills and insurance for her dormant business.

Despite the adversities, Anna has been doing extra courses, volunteering and even creating videos for her clients.

After the first lockdown was lifted, she briefly reopened her salon, but had limited the clients.

“Honestly, it gave a boost to both me and my clients both mentally but physically, you’d be surprised what a good set of brows can do to somebody,” Anna told the Advertiser.

“It was very busy during that time. My clients understood how far I was taking protocols ensuring the hygiene and guidelines were carried out to the highest of standards.

“I also offered a day of services to keyworkers. Because of the amount of interest, I made a post asking for nominations and used a generator which randomly selected names. I will be doing this again as a thank you to NHS staff when it’s safe to open once again.”

The results of the UK Hair and Beauty Awards will be announced in March.