It provided daily interest to both passing villagers and visitors from further away.

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And after three weeks of toiling long hours, thatching brothers Alex and Richard Kelly have completed their picture postcard transformation of a holiday cottage in Reedham, near Great Yarmouth.

Two of the youngest thatchers in the country, they are proud to have restored the last thatched property in the village, finishing the job by leaving their trademark ‘V’ patterns in the roof.

Alex, 32, of Lavengro Road, Norwich, said: “There was considerable interest because it is quite rare to see thatchers at work these days.”

However, they are hoping to lead a thatching revival and have been encouraged by the response to an article in the EDP when they were starting work in Reedham.

Alex, who is married with a six-month-old daughter, said: “Two more thatched property owners have since got in touch with us and a builder has talked to us about his plans to return tile roofs to thatch.”

The brothers got the idea of being thatchers when their builder father, Gerry, built a thatched house in Shotesham in 1996.

Richard, 29, of Waldemar Avenue, Hellesdon, said: “I always wanted to do something with my hands, having grown up around building sites, and thatching is like an adventure.

“A roof is the canvas for your personal creation. You can pretty much tell which thatcher has been working on a roof.”

The brothers use as much local reed as they can but demand greatly outstrips supply so they have to top it up with European reed.

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