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Grants totalling £40,000 help fund one of Gloucester's oldest and most vital professions

Grants totalling £40,000 have been awarded to Gloucester Cathedral to train the next generation of stonemasons vital for the upkeep of the historic building.

The Cathedral has received a £25,000 grant from the Allchurches Trust and £15,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation to continue the training for talented craftspeople.

Gloucester Cathedral has developed an international reputation as one of the finest conservation stonemasonry workshops in Europe.

Picture: Martin Gwilliams (trainee stonemason) and Paul Playford (grants officer at AllChurches Trust)

More than 50 stonemasons have been trained at the Cathedral by master mason Pascal Mychalysin and his team over the past 30 years.

The latest round of funding will support the newest of the trainees, Martin Gwilliams, during his two-year programme of training at the Cathedral's Workshop Fellowship.

His training will culminate in a foundation degree in applied historic building conservation and repair awarded by The University of Gloucestershire.

The two-year training will give Mr Gwilliams an extraordinary opportunity to learn his craft and support the rest of the team to ensure the Cathedral remains in the best possible conditions.

Martin Gwilliams said: This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with Pascal and his team at a on one of the most beautiful medieval buildings in Europe. I can't wait to get started."

When asked about the impact of trainees on the Cathedral, Master Mason Pascal said: "Training the next generation of stonemasons is part of the Cathedral's heritage and something which is very close to my heart.

"The energy and enthusiasm trainees bring to the team is infectious and I am looking forward to supporting Martin as he perfects his trade at Gloucester over the next two years."

Paul Playford, Grants Officer at Allchurches Trust, said: "Our new heritage grant programme invests in future generations so that all can continue to enjoy our great past; with traditional skills being handed down.

"We're delighted to have been able to fund Martin to grow his own stonemasonry expertise and experience with the exceptionally talented team at Gloucester Cathedral."

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