Ex-roofer carves out stunning new career

A FORMER roofer, who found his creative side and became a wood carver, has picked up his first ever prize for his new craft.

Naomi Cassidy

A FORMER roofer, who found his creative side and became a wood carver, has picked up his first ever prize for his new craft.

Ben Loughrill, 32, from Wissett, near Halesworth, discovered he had a talent for carving nine years ago when he created a wooden mushroom after messing around with his chainsaw.

His passionate hobby soon turned serious and he decided to take the plunge and launch his own carving business seven years ago.

Since then, he hasn't looked back and is constantly inundated with orders for carved structures for either public spaces or private gardens.

Despite his successful business, the father-of-one never expected to receive an award for his efforts, so was astounded when he finished second in the English Open Chainsaw Carving competition in Manchester for creating two wooden hares.

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Mr Loughrill said: “The competition was the first time I have been recognised for what I do. It was a strange moment when my name was called out. I lost it a bit.

“The judges said the hares had lovely movement and were well proportioned.

“I taught myself how to carve. After all these years of learning how to do it, I have now been recognised for it so that is great.

“I will be entering more competitions and even some international ones.”

For his prize, he was awarded �300 and his work was sold in a charity auction for �500.

He uses a variety of wood to make the pieces, which are constructed by using chainsaw, chisels and power tools for sanding.

His current project is creating a 20ft-high family tree sculpture for Thetford Forest.

The future plans are to continue developing the business, and expanding into areas like tree felling.

Mr Loughrill added: “I just love being outside and working with wood and being creative. I am my own boss too.

“When I was a roofer, it was very tedious and I would be in my van by 6am and be back home at 7pm.

“To do this job you have to be passionate about it and need to have it in your heart.”