Ex-builder weaves a new future in tweed

A FORMER builder from Norfolk yesterday became one of the new breed of Harris Tweed weavers after completing a new qualification which is the first of its kind for the industry.

Roger Goundry was one of ten students who finished 12 weeks of training on a specially-designed course, and immediately took delivery of his own loom.

Mr Goundry, 61, moved to Harris six years ago for a change in lifestyle and is now helping to keep alive one of its most traditional industries.

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The course, which provides a SVQ qualification in Harris Tweed weaving, was delivered by Cardonald College in Glasgow at a specially set-up training centre in Stornoway.

It is the first training course in over a decade to give formal training to new weavers and ensure new entrants are trained to an appropriate standard recognising the skills and craftmanship of the world renowned industry.

Mr Goundry said he applied for the course out of curiosity: "I'm retired now and living on Harris and the Harris Tweed course really caught my interest.

"I knew almost nothing about weaving – I'd seen a friend who lives close by doing it before, but that was really it – so I was a bit apprehensive on the first day of the course. It was scary but I wanted to give it a go.

"The course was fantastic – it really was a wonderful experience and it's opened up a whole new career path to me.