Lawson Wight – Chairman
“The importance of a well-trained, professional sweep cannot be overstated. The safety of our consumers, their families and their property can be greatly increased by using a Guild member for chimney sweeping, solid fuel servicing and advice.”
Lawson entered the chimney sweeping profession in 2000. He joined the Guild as he felt the organisation had the most expert members and these were the people he wished to associate with.
By 2007, Lawson realised that both the Guild and the industry required real change, which could only be achieved by taking a more active role. This led to his appointment to the Guild’s Education Committee, and in 2009 he became Public Relations Director.
While he still has a presence at the training programme for new members, and provides on-site training days, his role within the Guild has evolved. He concentrates his efforts on promoting the professionalism of members to consumers and communicating with the wider solid fuel industry. More recently his focus has been working with government officials to ensure the interests of chimney sweeps and their customers are a primary consideration with regard to policy and legislation.
There is also a great deal of work to do to educate both consumers and those within the industry on many aspects of solid fuel use. The current level of incorrect and contradictory information given to consumers regarding appliances, chimneys and fuels means there is a wonderful opportunity for us to set high standards.
Sascha Meding – Vice Chairman
“The Guild is important because it gives a standard to reach. It represents the trade and is continuously improving every day. And of course it is part of the chimney sweeping future – by raising awareness and providing training we can save lives.
“The future looks fantastic for the Guild and the sweeping trade all over the world as more and more biomass is used, creating work for all of us. I can also see the Guild easily doubling in size in the next few years as higher standards are not only expected but demanded by customers.”
Before Sascha joined the Guild he was Technical Director for the chimney sweeps of South Germany.
In 2005, after meeting the Chairman of the Guild and seeing the personal approach and commitment of the Board members, he decided the Guild was the organisation to join.
In 2005 Sascha was asked to stand as Public Relations Director and by 2006 he became Vice Chairman.
While his primary responsibility as Vice Chairman has been to support the Chairman, Sascha has also set about improving relations between the Guild and sweeping organisations around the world. Being fluent in both German and English has helped him forge strong bonds with international organisations.
David Wooffindin – Educational Director
“The public are becoming more and more aware of the importance of using competent and assessed chimney sweeps. The Guild ensures that the very best chimney sweeping service is provided by each and every one of our members.
“The future for the Guild is looking great – we are entering a time where Guild sweeps are being recognised for the professionals they are.”
David picked up his first rod and brush in 1993 when he established Chimney Services, providing chimney sweeping and appliance repair services to residents of South Yorkshire.
By 1997 David realised that joining a chimney sweep organisation could only be of benefit. After researching the options available he felt the Guild, as a forward-thinking group of professionals, was the best fit for him.
Within 18 months he decided he had more to give to the Guild, and in 1998 was appointed as Guild Assessor.
Over the years the Guild’s training programme has evolved and David has been at the forefront, ensuring that all Guild trainees are of the highest standard. This enables them to stand out from their unqualified competitors and being a Guild member also provides them with the support of a national network of sweeps, all happy to help each other with problems they may encounter in the course of their work.
Today, not only is David still the Guild Assessor, but he also holds the role of Treasurer.
Steven Howard – Technical Director
“The Guild stands for excellence and advancement in the field of chimney sweeping, service and maintenance and industry training.”
Steven has run his chimney sweeping & maintenance company since 1989 and was invited to join the Guild in 2014.
Formally the Guild’s Health & Safety Trustee, Steven took on the position of Technical Trustee in March 2018, a role that demands that he is up-to-date with technological and regulatory advancements within the industry. This knowledge then needs to be relayed to members.
Steven also has a presence at some of the training programmes and is heavily involved with ensuring new members are aware of the most up-to-date methods and theory. He also aims to inspire them to continue expanding their knowledge base after their assessment through the Guild’s Continual Professional Development programmes.
The Guild is an organisation which stands for excellence. The training programmes, standards, support and technical know-how the Guild provides its members with; enables their service to the consumer to be of the highest standard in the country.
John Stone – Scotland Region Director
“I came back into the world of chimneys after my daughters started school after being a full time Dad for 10 years, as my then partner had a career job in the oil industry.
My history as far as chimney related work was in cast in-situ lining which gave me a good understanding in chimney construction, if not always the correct procedures!”
“In 2011 after a bit of research of the different associations offering training and asking a Certified Sweep who worked locally, I followed his advice and came to a Guild course at Surefire training centre in Derbyshire. I was blown away and somewhat shocked by my lack of knowledge and the potential to get the whole job so dangerously wrong.”
Five years and a lot of learning later, and John really wanted to help support and improve the accessibility of training to those in Scotland. Initially, after attending a second sweep course as a refresher he became a trainer, and went on to become an NVQ approved Assessor for the Guild.
“If I was asked to say what is it about the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps that make it the best association, it would be the desire of its members to be the most professional, forward and open minded in the industry. The willingness to help each other and always to improve our knowledge and that of the other chimney sweeps for the benefit of the whole industry.”
With the support of the Guild board, we are pushing forward with the training access programme in Scotland.
Lang may Yer Lum Reek!
Barry Chislett-Bruce – South
David Barnes – North West
Simon Rooney – North East
Iain Stevens – South West
Les Bowering – South East
Nigel Potter – Midlands
Dave Merritt – West