A COLCHESTER metal detectorist and businesswoman who struck gold after winning a prestigious prize was given the chance to wax lyrical about her company with a former Dragon.

Kerrie Masters, 38, who owns Art by Kerrie, met none other than Dragon's Den iconic Theo Paphitis at Small Business Sunday in Birmingham at The International Convention Centre.

The event, founded by Mr Paphitis in 2010, featured speakers from Google, NatWest, the British Craft House and concluded with Stacey Solomon.

Kerrie was invited along having previously won a small business award from Mr Paphitis for her work in turning historical pieces discovered while metal detecting into jewellery.

Speaking about meeting Mr Paphitis, Kerrie said: “I was full of nerves and excitement to be in attendance representing my small, Colchester business.

"I was fortunate enough to be presented with a certificate [for winning the award] and I also met Theo Paphitis himself.

“He was incredibly kind and interested in my business and we had a little chat before he presented my certificate, and we had a photo taken.”

After every find, and before injecting new life into the pieces she unearths, Kerrie conducts meticulous research to gain a better insight into an item’s age, maker and story.

The new owner then receives this information on a hand-written card.

Kerrie's business was born out of a passion for sustainability, from cleaning up beaches and riverbeds to taking home plastic discoveries and disposing of them accordingly.

She uses stainless steel findings, recycled silver and recycled gold usually sourced from scrap metals, so it doesn't create toxic run off when produced.

Kerrie, who also works as a part-time supply teacher in secondary schools, said her ultimate goal is to have a stand of products at Colchester Castle.

For more information about Art By Kerrie, visit Instagram account @artbykerrie_ or the business’ website at artbykerrie.co.uk.