Stella English has won the £100,000 job as Lord Alan Sugar’s latest Apprentice.
Stella defeated Chris Bates in the final after appearing the strongest and most consistent candidate, although an impressed Lord Sugar said his door would be open if Chris ever came knocking.
After finally learning the news on the BBC1 show, the 31-year-old mother-of-two said: “It’s still a lot to take in. I’m on cloud nine and my feet haven’t really touched the ground yet.”
She insisted, however, that the prospect of returning home to her two sons without the job was always out of the question.
“There were times that I felt very tired and it was much harder than I ever thought it would be. But in terms of quitting, there was absolutely no way,” she said.
“When I walked out that door and looked at my boys’ faces as I left, I fully intended to come back with a new job. I could never think of coming out of it without winning.”
She added: “My children are two and four so they’re far more interested in CBeebies than The Apprentice, but hopefully they will have a much more settled life. They will be living in Hertfordshire and will have a better quality of life, which is why I’ve done this.”
Early in the final, the pair were despatched to the Langham Hotel in London to create, market and sell a new alcoholic drink.
There was help on hand with some familiar faces from the series recruited to work with them and help them get the prize of a top job with Lord Sugar.
Chris enlisted the help of some of the failed contestants including Liz Locke – who was sensationally kicked off the show when loudmouth Stuart Baggs survived two weeks ago – but soon clashed with the feisty businesswoman.
The pair fall out over whether to add colour to their pomegranate-infused spirit Prism, with Chris branding her ideas ‘cheap and gimmicky’.
Things were more serene on Stella’s team and she impressed Nick Hewer.
Lord Sugar’s sidekick said: “Stella has led her little team. There’s been no fighting or showboating and that is a valuable quality to have, to be able to lead a willing team.”
Lord Sugar paid particular tribute to the way Stella had built her career in the financial industry having started as a PA, clearly impressing the millionaire who started out selling in a street market.