‘It’s our heritage’ - 17-year-old determined to keep thatching craft alive

17-year-old Will Blower carrying a bundle of straw with boss James Stock in the background

Will Blowers, 17, hopes to keep the thatching tradition alive - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A young apprentice has spoken of his passion to carry on an ancient tradition and says he is determined to keep the craft alive. 

Will Blowers, 17, from Knodishall, is among the few apprentices to take up thatching.

But Will, who has been learning the trade for seven months, is using his passion for art to continue a dwindling craft.  

He said: “It’s something I would love to continue because I was really interested in art at school and I’ve only just left Year 11 this year.  

“Both of my grandfathers had farms and they still do, so I’ve always grown up with the farming side.

"My dad didn’t want me to become a farmer because it’s a stressful job but this ties in with that and also my passion for art. And thatching is quite a craft in itself. 

Will sitting with bundles of straw behind him

Will hopes to become a master thatcher in the future - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“I think it’s part of our heritage and it’s very interesting. We just want to keep it alive.

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"If no one learns, then we can’t continue that process and slowly reed roofs will die out.” 

For other young people thinking about starting a career within a trade, Will says try an apprenticeship and see it through.  

“Give an apprentice a fair go. With apprenticeships there is a bit of a stereotype that you’ll be given all the bad jobs to start with but that side of things doesn’t last very long.   

Will holding a pitch fork standing next to his boss James Stock with outhouses in the background

Will with boss and master thatcher, James D Stock - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“If you’re not a very academic person you can’t stress yourself out about it. There’s a place in the world for everyone.

"It’s not an easy job to get into and learn but it can be as good as any other career.” 

Will says he hopes to continue in the thatching profession and one day become a highly skilled thatcher. 

“Hopefully I'd like to stick to thatching and I see myself in 10 years being able to call myself a master thatcher, being in one of the associations and genuinely having a good reputation for my thatching ability.” 

Will works under master thatcher, James Stock, whose business Facebook account can be found here.  

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