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34NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2010www.nadfas.org.ukAWARD RECIPIENTBelow:Joshbraves theJanuary snows to perfect histechnique atKnuston Hall Up on the roofThatching, declares Northants-based master thatcher NickSurridge, is one of the oldestcrafts known to man. "As soon aspeople learned to build shelters they putvegetation on top to provide cover."How wonderful, then, that Nick, andothers like him, are continuing thetradition in this age of modern, andoften rather colourless building materialsand techniques. Better still is that thereis apparently so much interest in thecraft from a new generation ofthatchers. "Young people are veryenthusiastic about the trade," Nick says."Every year the college course fills up atKnuston Hall (the local thatching college)and we are always getting enquiriesabout apprenticeships."One of Nick's current apprentices is18-year-old Josh Sharman. Josh hasbeen learning the ropes with Nick foralmost three years, assisted by agenerous bursary of £5,000 from thePatricia Fay Memorial Fund. The fundsare being used to cover Josh's trainingfees at Knuston Hall. Situated among 40acres of undulating parkland in EastNorthamptonshire, Knuston Hall is anThanks to a Patricia Fay Memorial Fundbursary, apprentice thatcher Josh Sharmanis on his way to mastering this ancient craft