THE constant restoration and maintenance of York Minster will continue far into the future, thanks to the creation of three new stonemasonry apprenticeships.

The new apprentices are being funded through a £170,000 grant from Yorkshire, North and East Ridings Freemasons.

The three apprenticeships are being introduced over three years, with each individual learning their craft in the cathedral’s Stoneyard alongside award-winning craftspeople, while studying part-time at York College.

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The apprenticeship funding is being given in memory of Iain Ross Bryce, a former Provincial Grand Master of Yorkshire and East Riding Freemasons, who died in June 2015.

The first apprentice to benefit from the grant is 27-year-old Lewis Morrison, who joined the cathedral in August 2016 after completing an NVQ Level 2 stonemasonry qualification at York College.

He moved to York from Aberdeen in 2015 to start a stonemasonry course at York College.

“I have an arts based background with a BA in Fine Art Printmaking and was looking for a career which was practical and creative,” he said.

“After completing my course, I knew I wanted to work in the heritage sector and obviously jumped at the opportunity to work at one of the world’s great medieval cathedrals."

The apprenticeships in architectural stonemasonry last for four years and include training in stone conservation and repair techniques and fixing masonry on site. The team uses traditional hand tools and the same techniques passed down over centuries by masons working at the cathedral.

The Minster's master mason John David said: "Investing in future generations of craftspeople is something we’re committed to at the Minster and the funding allows us to provide young people with specialist training while investing in the fabric and future of this ancient building.”