DECADES of blow drys, cuts and colours have paid off for a Lye hairdresser, who has been given a lifetime achievement award.

Graeme Perks received the award from the National Hairdressing Federation in recognition of 50 years of excellence.

The 70-year-old salon owner said: "I was a bit dubious to start with but I think it's lovely and I am very proud of the award. I think it is nice that a small businessman in the small town of Lye hasn't gone unnoticed.

"I had to go to the awards ceremony at Edgbaston cricket ground, it wasn't quite the Baftas but it was very nice."

Looking back over his career, Mr Perks said: "I started when I was 16, I had an apprenticeship with Raimondo in Birmingham - he was the man then - but unfortunately I had a nasty road accident and couldn't work for quite a bit. I started up again when I was 19 in a salon my father built for me in the garden."

Mr Perks later moved to premises in Chapel Street, Lye, where he stayed for 17 years, before moving to his current salon on Pedmore Road, where he has been for 32 years.

Although he admits he has "slowed down a little bit", Mr Perks said he has no plans to put down the scissors and joked: "I like the money too much."

He said the best moment of his career was when aged 26, he won a competition to go to New York for the World Hairdressing Championships, adding: "I've done lots of exciting things, hairdressing has been very kind to me."