Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Sidmouth’s first business awards celebrated local success stories – and it doesn’t get more local than a plumber who has worked on the hospital he was born in.
Aaron Patch took the prize for trade and craft services, recognising a business he started three years ago.
The Sidmothian now employs a small team as Plumb Patch, and is continuing an important tradition of teaching apprentices.
He was born in Sidmouth Victoria Hospital 35 years ago and, three decades on, ‘surreally’ found himself fixing the pipes there while working for Fords as part of the massive renovation project.
“It was my crowning glory,” said Aaron. “Now we’re only a small business, but we’re getting bigger.
“I’m not out to rip anyone off – I just want to make a living for myself and my guys.”
He had not always aspired to own his own business – in fact it was the last thing on his mind – but he was gaining more and more responsibility at work and decided he could make it on his own.
After receiving a vote of confidence from wife Emma, he is now self-employed and has not looked back.
“She told me to go out and buy a van – I hadn’t pre-organised any work, but found some and went from there,” said the 35-year-old.
“It’s miles different – it’s great to be your own boss and there are real pros and cons, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Having trained with plumbers as an apprentice, he is continuing the tradition of passing on the trade to the new generation.
Aaron has seen one through to full-time employment and welcomed a second budding young plumber.
“I think it’s a good way to learn, and I can teach the same way I was taught – these days they teach simple solutions and none of the old ways,” said the plumber.
The Patch family in Sidmouth goes back at least two generations on Aaron’s father’s side, and the name is well known across the town.
The awards were organised by Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce and supported by the Herald.