From city gent to wood burning stove fitter

A Litcham man has left a high-flying city job in marketing to set up a wood burner installation business from home after learning about the increasing demand for cheaper alternatives for heating homes.

Kerry Walpole launched Norfolk Stove Installers on January 1 after his company wanted him to spend more time in London.

He moved to Litcham a few years ago but did most of his work from home and only had to travel to the city one day a week.

'But things changed and they wanted me to go down on a daily basis so I had to sit back and reflect on what I really wanted to do,' he said.

'I have got two young boys and a wife at home and it would mean going from seeing them every day to just at weekends.

'I decided on a lifestyle change.'

Mr Walpole teamed up with friend and builder Chris Mitchell and they realised that while there were plenty of companies supplying wood burners there were very few installers.

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They went on a course run by industry experts Hetas and are now fully accredited to install any burners, as well as advise and supply the equipment or recommend other local suppliers.

'It has been interesting researching the subject as well,' he said.

'I did not know that not only is oil expensive for heating it is a very dirty fuel

'And the carbon neutral aspect of wood burning is just as important to us as the cost savings it can bring and its efficiency for keeping a house warm.'

Since the company officially launched on January 1 Mr Walpole said they had already installed around a dozen wood burners and the phone had not stopped ringing.

'It is a dangerous piece of kit if it is not installed correctly and, because we are qualified, it means our work complies with building regulations.

'So if the owner needs to sell their house all the paperwork is in place.'

The business partners can carry out any building work necessary to fit a wood burner and you don't even need an existing chimney to have one.

'Many people would like a wood burner but think it is very expensive as the fitting can cost more than the stove – so we are aiming to be really competitive on price.

'But once it is up and running it will offer really good value for money and if you get a good quality burner it will last a lifetime – so it will start paying for itself very quickly,' he said.

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