The Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
Powering Chimney Sweeping into the 21st Century

AGM 2017

07 February, 2018

    Held at:  The Oxford Belfry Hotel, Milton Common, Thame, OX9 2JW

    Date: Saturday 11th March 2017

    Meeting opened at 3.40pm

    Meeting closed at 6.00pm


    Board members:

    Chairman: Daniel Hodgson (DH)

    Vice Chairman: Sascha Meding (SM)

    Public Relations: Lawson Wight (LW)

    Technical Director: Stefan Waumsley (SW)

    Safety Director: Steven Howard (SH)

    Educational Trustee: David Wooffindin (DW)  

    Treasurer: David Wooffindin (DW)



    1. Acceptance of 2016 minutes and Matters Arising
    2. Directors reports :-
      1. Chairman’s report
      2. Vice Chairman’s report
      3. Financial report
      4. Public Relations report
      5. Safety / Standards report
      6. Technical report
      7. Training & Education report
    3. Subscriptions
    4. O.B

    DH – thanked everyone for attending and accepted the apologies for those unable to attend.

    DH – also thanked SH for organising the Trade Show.


    Acceptance of 2016 mins and Matters arising 


    • Matters Arising



    Director reports

    1. Daniel Hodgson – Guild Chairman

    DH – I have been asked “Why so many organisations, why can’t there be just one?”

    Response: – 1. Possible collaboration of or amalgamation with other organisations

    Question: – Any objections with absorbing or amalgamating other organisations, if so, why?

    Being one of seven organisations does not give us as much power as one big one.

    Mark Aylett – No objections to amalgamating as long as the Guild does not lose its identity & keeps the tech support for members. Difficult without government involvement – still no regulations on chimney sweeping.

    DH – We can have more power as one body of thousands rather than just one organisation.  Agreed that we are a special organisation & does not want to lose that “specialness”.

    Trevor Howard – It is a fine line to tread but worth losing a little value of the Guild to move forward as a single body. Gave his full support.

    DH – Wants to leave a positive legacy

    Russell Peace – Are we voting today for collaboration?

    DH – No, it would have to be member’s choice – we all need to vote to make it happen.

    RP – Concerned about business based amalgamations and that the Industry Standard almost gone

    Tony Preston – Concerns – does not want to change to NACS logo, we have to be new name – perhaps the “National Association of Master Chimney Sweeps” (uproar from floor)

    DH – Probably new name. Spoke to other orgs – we do not want to be seen as to be putting a spoke in the wheel.

    DH – We need similar idea for sweeps as run by Gas Safe register – tighter regulations

    Glenn Howat – Chose to come to Guild because of training.  Concerned over other organisations training – considers them to have lower standard than ours

    DH – Others would need to be of the same high standard as the Guild & do refresher courses 5 yrs.

    Tony Preston – Had heard that a certain rod manufacturer was running C&G sweeping courses

    DH – Doubt very much whether they have a C&G qualification as it takes many members to establish, which they probably will not have.  Guild working towards a NVQ qual.

    Paul Morgan – Staying NACS as well as Guild because he wants to see both coming together but sees their President the main obstacle.

    DH – Would have to be a new elected board

    DH – If we do not try to make it happen, no one will.  We need to leave all doors open for discussion.


    1. Sascha Meding – Guild Vice Chairman

    SM – Thanked all for attending.

    Future schemes I will be involved in:-

    1. Eschfoe meeting in Italy.  New Chairman who I know very well. I was voted on as new treasurer to the Eschfoe board & I think they are now more willing to help us move forward, especially with Brexit happening.
    2. More Eschfoe feedback explained in the May newsletter.
    3. I am taking on organising the Regional Officers & as such will be contacting present regional officers to see if they want to carry on with the role, possibly appoint more & re-structuring regional meeting areas for Guild members. For members living in remote areas, there’ a possibility we can use the Guild “go to meeting” internet platform.  I will contact regional officers for more advice.

    DH- Suggested a board member on first meeting to show regional officers how it works.

    1. I am planning to have one or two meetings this year but I will need your help to make it successful. We need a working relationship with our members so we need feedback from these meetings – details on business advice shared, which can be passed on to other regions / members. Advise on suggestions for working relationships, so we can be more successful as a group.

    DH – The Guild board will provide assistance on how to run a meeting, use the “Go to meeting” platform, take minutes etc.

    1. Via the new website, a Guild shop will be set up to sell core products that chimney sweeps need i.e smoke pellets, CO detectors, moisture meters etc. The idea being to use our collective power to enable us to acquire quality products & bigger discounts from suppliers.
    2.  SM will be working on this over the next 12 months & will have more information for the next AGM.


    1. David Wooffindin – Guild  Treasurer

    Finance report –

    DW – Total expenses for 2016 was £175,058.60, total income was £218,665.40,

    V.A.T paid was £14,700.00.

    GoodsSubsAGM gala dinner mealsTradeshow/H&HTrainingOther
    ZeroNet Vat
    Other –  income (Donations to Gary Atkins fund & Charity Raffle)
    Office equip & capital itemsCap Office equip sundriesStationary & sundriesTelephone / CommsPostageDonations
    Dir/ExpDirectors meetingsDirectors AdminGuild ShopadvertisingWebsite
    Accountant feesBank/chCardnet bank chgCard net rentalOffice Equip InsLegal Ins
    Hospitality & mealsTng accomOnsite TrainingTraining /expensesTraining EquipSecretary/ Admin
    AGMTrade      showESCHFOE SubsInternational meetingsH&HVAT     PAYMENT
    total amountvat amountzero ratenet of vat


    DW – If any member requires a copy of the accounts, please contact me for one.





    4.Lawson Wight  -Guild Public Relations Director

    LW – Thanked Andrew Tennant for his work on the forum, & advised that the running of the forum will now be passed on to Mark Aylett.

    LW – Jo Thurgur is to proof the new website content, as previous experience in the field.

    LW – Thanks to on-site trainers & gave applause to those in the room.

    LW – Guild 25 years old next year, so we should have a big celebration!

    LW – Handed over to Vinny Piana from Codastar to explain features of the two new websites. VP – The first will be a consumer platform site called “Find a Sweep” which is a common term when consumers look for a sweep online.

    VP – Demonstrated how it works.

    Questions for VP

    Paul Clements – Asked if there would be an app for mobile phones.

    VP – It was built with that in mind & can be made into an app if the demand is there but can cost a lot to develop & would need to conform to Apple & Android machines. It would obviously have to be a board decision

    Jo Thurgur – Concerned about possible abuse of the star rating system towards individual companies.

    VP – We can alter the star rating system manually but only if approved by & instructed to by the Guild.

    Mark Paramor – Finds the Master Sweep status a bit dividing

    LW – The Master Sweep programme was developed to encourage sweeps to undertake further training & develop their skill set.  Explained the criteria to become a Master Sweep.

    Cliff Goddard – Star rating system is “pants”, as it was open to abuse.

    VP – Re-iterated that the star rating system would be monitored to prevent abuse. The star rating system is a consumer platform standard. The customer has to register to be able to rate a member, so bogus people can be traced, so members will not be exposed.

    A heated discussion followed re the star rating, too much to write.(DW)

    DH – Suggested that we trial it & if the star system is abused then we remove it.  Consumers do like a star rating system.  It will benefit the Guild as it will put us above other organisations – we are not afraid to be rated.

    Jake Patrick – Good idea if the consumer can comment to explain the rating given.

    Joe Pearson – Good idea but can people opt out of having it?

    VP – No option, it’s all or nothing.

    LW – Was sceptical to start with, but having looked in to it decided that it could be a good platform idea.

    Lee Pearce – It would be a good idea, if like “checkatrade”, we have the opportunity to reply to any comments on our own rating.

    James Hughes – Explained the problems he’s had with google ratings, being one sided.

    DH – We can monitor the ratings & after acting as mediators, we can remove it if necessary. If you are doing a good job, you have nothing to worry about.

    Scott Regan – Can it be run as a trial for 6 months?

    Tony Preston – Praised the star rating but want the Guild to monitor it.

    Scott Regan – Raised concerns over the search facility for Master Sweep status on the website.

    LW – No problem, the “tick box” could be removed.

    Glenn Howat – I am a Master Sweep but I think we should remove the Gold Star button.  Also concerned about the postcode search – some members cover postcodes out of their area, so customers do not always contact the sweep closest to their postcode.

    VP – The new website will be different, only the primary postcodes of the sweeps closest to the customer’s postcode will appear. Members will be limited to seven postcodes now (as opposed to 20 on the old site).

    Dan Retter – Interrupted by the fire alarm!

    DH – Evacuate the room – too much hot air!

    Restart meeting at 17.10

    LW – We want the website to work for all of us, so if we find something does not work, we can change it. Explains the safety pages on the consumer website.

    Russell Peace – When will the website go live?

    VP – There are two websites, so it has taken sometime to iron out the fine detail & coding. We are very close now.

    VP – The Trade association site for Guild sweeps. Will be for members only, who will have to log in to access Guild news, messages from the Guild, information on Trade Members, the Guild shop, Training Courses etc.

    VP – The new websites will be mobile friendly.

    Ian Burris – Who will police the star rating system & comments?

    VP – At present, it will only be a star rating system – no comments can be made.  We can change it in the future, if required.  We can alter a rating, if we are instructed to by the Guild.

    VP – Codastar will now offer a free website platform for Guild members.

    LW – Gave thanks to Vinny for his extended presentation.

    LW- Spoke about the new Guild Facebook page also mentioned the trade press with releases.

    Guild forum: it has doubled its usage over the last twelve months. It is still very much under used

    LW has everyone had regular Newsletters in the inbox; it will be put on the new Facebook page. Any photos are welcome.

    Mark Aylett has made a tutorial video for new members

    Marc Beun (Belgium)

    Asked if he could be put on the list for receiving our periodic newsletters.

    LW—we need to set up a working committee of three members to oversee the electronic certificate/ booking system. Then this committee can present a brief to the Board.


    Steven Howard – Guild Safety Director/ Events Organiser

    Steven stood and said how great full he was to have been able to help the Guild and thankyou to all for making him so welcome.

    We explained why he was standing down. He will remain a member of the Guild

    The floor responded with big thanks and an applause.

    DH thanked Steven


    Stefan Waumsley Guild Technical Director

    Stefan stood up and thanked all members for their support over the past 5 months.

    (Understandably, he has been through what must have been a difficult period in his life)

    DH—we need a replacement for Steven Howard on the Board,

    Possibly a person who is more IT minded. Anyone interested,

    LW—Requirements for a new board member would be published in the next Newsletter.



    DH— the Board have decided that subscriptions are to stay the same for the coming year.


    Dave Wooffindin Guild Education Director

    Sweep training courses,

    The Guild had 72 new candidates last year; some of those were sweeps already from elsewhere or wanting to issue the Industry Standard certificates

    Refresher course 6 members,

    The Guild assessed 46 new full members

    Thatch courses had 30 candidates

    CCTV courses had 27 Candidates

    Income from courses £101, 00.00

    Expenses, £61,750.

    Onsite training, £1.600.00

    Admin, total, £9,300.00

    Equipment replacement for training £1,700.00

    Room hire £10,800.00 trainer’s accommodation while on above courses

    Travel expenses £3,200.00 (claimed)

    Refresher courses, will be rolled out this year

    Update to Guild ID cards.

    Speaking with Steven Howard it was decided a good idea to print on the reverse of the member ID card the qualifications attained, upon receipt of current certificates. This will allow members to show their customers at a glance, what courses they have passed.

    Easier when applying for local authority work.

    DW – If you change anything on your personal data, ie; Change address, website, email, tel, mobile number, please let me know so we can change the details on your profile page



    Tony Preston asked, if the Guild Industry Standard Sweeping Certificates could have a box for putting the amount charged, in. and email box

    Ian Elliott

    Can we do our own Electronic certificate?

    DH -It needs signing on the day by someone, either a paper copy or an iPad,

    DH- said get quotes and put it to the Board

    DH -thanked all members for attending the AGM and said, enjoy the meal tonight

    Meeting closed at 6PM


      What our members say…

      Nick Rance

      In 2013 I decided to enter the chimney sweeping industry and paid to train as a sweep. After a couple of days training in a classroom I was given a certificate, sold some dodgy tools and wished the best of luck in my new career. I discovered after a couple of years trading as an […]

      Nick Rance (Rance and Broom Chimney sweeping)
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