Master Thatcher | Established 1978

Jem Raison is a member of the Master Thatchers Associaton of Gloucester, Herefordshire, Warwickshire and WorcestershireJem Raison uses only natural and sustainable products for thatching

Master Thatcher | Established 1978

Jem Raison and his team of thatchers at work

More Than Just A Job

Jem Raison began thatching in 1972 by starting a four-year apprenticeship in Somerset. Two years after finishing his training he moved to the South Midlands. During this time Jem became keen to help establish a training structure in the trade. Some thatchers are self-taught and others are partly taught; in that sense the industry was completely unregulated. So Jem spent 10 years on a committee drawing up the national vocational qualification (NVQ) which was finalised around 2000.

We Love The Rain

To people like Jem and his colleagues,  thatching is more a way of life than a mere job. Come rain or shine, thatchers ply their craft irrespective of whether it is winter or summer. A lot of people think thatchers just work through the summer but it's an all-year-round occupation.

The fact is that working in the rain, unless it's torrential, makes absolutely no difference. A few showers don't bother us because we tend to moisten the straw overnight, to soften it. It makes it easier to work with.

Image of Jem © BBC.