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CPL Distribution / Guild collaboration

Those of you at the AGM will recall the presentation by Jon Carter, Marketing Director of CPL Distribution. CPL are probably best known as the largest and oldest distributor of coal and solid mineral fuels in the UK (excepting Scotland).

They own the Homefire brand and as well as direct delivery to consumers you’ll see their product outside many petrol service stations, B&Q etc. During a meeting early this year your board were trying to come up with endorsement type ideas for the Guild brand and we decided to give CPL a call.

Daniel Hodgson met Jon Carter and they quickly realized the upside for both parties. What started as an idea for an information booklet quickly became a 20 page A5 glossy brochure, “The Good Fuel Guide”, packed with useful information for your customers.

It covers subjects as diverse as chimney safety, storing fuel, chimney terminals, CO issues and lighting a fire. It contains excellent information on the CPL product range. There is also a section for your details. You can present it to your customers as a sweeping history for the chimney – to be updated each year. There is a generous 20% discount on a 1st order to customers wishing to purchase any of the CPL fuels.

CPL have recognized the power of our potential to distribute The Good Fuel Guide to our customers and are shouldering all the production and printing costs. We just need to pass it on.

It contains something useful and interesting for every customer and you can draw attention to any section which is immediately relevant to their situation e.g. dangerous terminals, ventilation issues, CO issues etc.

If you use it properly it will enhance your professional status and increase your business. We have produced a short training video which you can see at It gives some pointers as to how to use the Good Fuel Guide to your best advantage.

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April 2012 Training Course

Dear Daniel, David, Stefan and Lawson,

I felt I had to write to congratulate you on delivering a superb course last week.

It occurred to me that some of you will not have exposure to many training courses in your professional lives unlike myself,  who over a career in business/education links, ( Chief Executive of the Sheffield Education Business Partnership )  employer associations ( Director of Manchester Chamber of Commerce  and Industry,  business unit and largest Local Employer Network in the UK ) and at a major UK Business School ( Director of  careers development, MBA program at Manchester Business School ) I have sat through hours and I mean hours,  of 2, 3 and 4 day courses all over the UK, Europe and The States.

I have never enjoyed a course as much as I enjoyed the one that you designed and delivered last week.  It was quite simply, faultless.  The training environment at Ripley was high quality and well equipped.

The materials were well written, well researched, relevant and specific. It was apparent that a lot of intelligent and considered writing and editing had gone in to producing the excellent training manual. It could quite easily have veered toward the inaccessible and technical loaded jargon infested manual that one never looks at again. On the contrary, The Guilds Training Manual will be a well referenced work book for me and I suspect for everyone who attended the course. I also anticipate that other organisations will be quick to utilise it.

The Trainers themselves however were the most impressive.  You have amongst you a team of inspiring understated experts, who delivered, and I guess it must be instinctively, a perfect course. It was the blend of several things that made it in my view excellent; technical information in a no nonsense understandable form, good use of technology to impart the necessary information, great training aids to back up and best of all a passionate delivery by clear experts. There was enough practical skills based training to support the theory and the right amount of time for us delegates to network and build relationships.

The trainers communication skills were great, I loved the blend of anecdotes with tips, and real life experience, and felt you carried a tough schedule really well.

In short I felt that the training course was terrific value and thoroughly enjoyed it and I know that that was the shared view of the delegates who I had chance to speak to.

Kind regards,

Jessica Hayes


The only potential flaw I thought I  could spot, was when the caterers arrived with a tray of pork pies (!!!),    but the next minute they laid down a superb tray of delicious sliced fruit,   brilliant, absolutely brilliant .

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Look after those knees!

I have now been involved in the Chimney industry for some thirteen years, a family business established in 1982 run by my father in law up until 7 years ago when he retired. Fortunately I was in a good position to take over the reins and bring forward the business to what it is today.

The issue at heart I would like to make all sweeps aware of is your “KNEES”. Like many I have been on my knees for some time now and taken considerable care over the years, always worn heavy duty, comfortable knee pads and tried to rest them as much as possible, especially during the busier period.

A couple of years ago, 2008 to be exact, I noticed that my knees ached for slightly longer than normal, but hey what do you expect kneeling most of the day… My dear wife as sympathetic as ever kindly reminded me “I wasn’t getting any younger” I was 39 at the time.

In December 2008 the pain started to become unbearable; long into the night even with pain killers the aches continued. At this point there was no swelling, bruising or anything to show that something was wrong.  Once again I just put it down to the amount of work on my knees and continued to work and live with it. This proved to be a big mistake!

In January 2009, while working on a chimney, I twisted round slightly to pick up another rod and felt and heard an almighty crack in my right knee.  I knew it wasn’t good and headed straight home after I had finished the chimney.

That evening my knee was the size of a football, but funnily enough the pain wasn’t so bad, yes it ached but it was considerably more comfortable. Every night after work the ice pack was in full use, fortunately the chimneys had slowed down a little enabling me to get to the docs and see what was happening.

The Doctor said I had Pre-Patella Bursitis or better known as house maid’s knee, this is a fluid behind the knee cap which thickens and becomes painful after years of kneeling, but on the safe side she sent me to see a knee consultant. Amazingly after three weeks the swelling had all but gone, but the knee was still causing problems, the consultant checked and said things didn’t quite feel right and I should have an MRI.

The MRI scan appointment came through four weeks later. I then waited another three weeks to see the consultant, finally the results and “ Yes Mr Potter you have two tears, one to the cruciate ligament and one to the medial ligament, the only way to repair this is by surgery”.  The surgery is by means of an arthroscopy, this is key hole surgery.  “When will I be able to work?” was my first question, “Three weeks later” I was told.

After seeing the surgeon, the surgery was booked for June 4th, at last I thought I can get this sorted and back to normal. When the surgeon had finished the operation and came to see me in recovery the true extent of the damage was revealed. Yes, the cruciate ligament was torn, and so was the medial, so much so they had to remove it fully. Additional to this there were particles of bone floating around the knee causing the main aching, this had to be removed and the worn bone re-shaped.

The first week at home was unbelievable horrendous, I have never in all my time experienced pain like it, not only that but the final blow came that I wouldn’t be able to work for 8 weeks. Thank goodness business had been kind and could look after us.

What was truly incredible is that my customers who phoned or reminders we called for their booking in the summer months all waited until I was good enough to return, that speaks volumes about my business and I’m very grateful.

Nearly 12 weeks later and plenty of physiotherapy, I could return to work, thankfully the knee is good but will never be quite the same again. I need a check up every 6 months to monitor the progress which will eventually lead to a full knee replacement in approx 10 – 15 years time!!

The knee specialist made it very clear that the majority of work needed could have been avoided if only I had seen the doctor sooner.

The constant kneeling, moving around and twisting led to this problem. If you have knees that ache regularly a simple check with the doctors can prevent further trouble.

After 12 weeks at home, I knew daytime telly like the back of my hand with plenty of tea and biscuits.

Still, I’m so glad to be back doing what I enjoy.

Look after those knees members!

Nigel Potter

Clean Sweep

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Guild Certified chimney sweep training

We are asked on a daily basis; what make a guild sweep any different to any other?

There are three answers to this question

  1. Consistent high standards
  2. Very high levels of training
  3. Ongoing access to Industry Knowledge

It is the opinion of the Guild that in order to be considered a competent sweep, a certain level must be achieved and this unfortunately takes time. In years past a chimney sweep would have spent 2 years apprenticeship with a master chimney sweep before going out on their own.  In reality nowadays this is not practical and does not allow for the necessary classroom theoretical element. To accommodate both theoretical and practical the Guild training program for new sweeps consists of 3 days theoretical training at the Sure-Fire technical centre, followed by several weeks with a master mentor on our work based mentoring program. This Mentoring program is an industry first as it gives much of what an apprenticeship does without the long time scale. This program is designed to give a sweep the necessary knowledge to be able to undertake the job safely and professionally.

A practical Training Seminar At the Sure-Fire training Centre

A Guild Practical training Seminar at Sure-Fire

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2010 ESCHFOE Meeting

eschfoe logo

This blog will explain what ESCHFOE is and what does ESCHFOE mean for the Membership and the Public.

Firstly what is ESCHFOE and what does the acronym stand for?


The `europaischen schornsteinfegermeister foderation` or the  `European federation of master chimney sweeps` .

The ESCHFOE is a professional federation  of chimney sweeping guilds which boasts a membership from over 21 countries.

The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps have long  since been active members of ESCHFOE and represent the UK on a National level at  meetings. The decision to join was taken by the Guild in 2006 when we were invited to become a members of the international association. As the Guild`s primary goal is to raise standards within the UK we obviously jumped at the chance.

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