Chelmondiston: Soots you sir - chimney sweep dresses the part

CHELMONDISTON: He was a wall and floor tiler, a steeple jack and even tried his hand at property development.

But last year Nigel Spink took a risk – he sold a house he had done up and used the money to fund his way through a course which took his career along a completely different path.

The 52-year-old now trades under the name Chim Chimney.

Sweeping chimneys is his trade – and the father-of-three takes his role seriously.

Dressing up his full Victorian attire, Mr Spink enlists the help of his ten-year-old son Finley to raise awareness of the age-old tradition.

“Ever since I started my first business, a skip hire company when I was 21, being a chimney sweep had been at the back of my mind,” he said.

“At the time one of my competitors had a skip hire firm and was also a chimney sweep and I remember thinking it would be a lovely side to the business.”

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Years later, after Mr Spink bought and did up a house as part of a new venture in property development, the chance came for him to follow his dream.

With the proceeds of the sale, Mr Spink put himself through a chimney sweeping course and last August he finally qualified and started working part-time. Since then he has swept 500 chimneys and today he is looking to take his business full-time.

Mr Spink, of Collimer Close, Chelmondiston, said as well as the fun he has getting into character and doing his job, there is a serious message to get across.

“Anyone with an open fire must get their chimney swept every year,” he added.

“It helps you get the most out of the fire and it keeps you safe.

“Until I did my course, I had no idea that you are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if you don’t get your chimney swept.”

And there is the threat of chimney fires, which Mr Spink said have been on the rise since the recession hit.

“People have less money so are trying to save and many aren’t getting their chimney swept,” he said.

“But it is so important to get it done, it really can be the difference between life and death.”

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