HISTORY was made at a cathedral yesterday when female choristers took part in a service for the first time.

The 21 singers gave a performance at evensong in Durham Cathedral as part of the choir.

The Dean of Durham, The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, introduced the service by speaking about what is involved in being a cathedral chorister.

He said: “It is not often that we can genuinely say that we are making history in a cathedral as old as this.

“But today is one of those times. It is immensely exciting to be welcoming girls into the cathedral choir, and I am very privileged to be a small part of this great moment in the musical history of our cathedral.”

The girls were presented to the dean by name and he asked them to affirm that they were willing to become a member of the choir.

He formally admitted them to the choir by shaking hands with each of them and praying for God’s blessing upon them.

The new choristers then took their places in the stalls ready to begin their first service of evensong.

James Lancelot, master of the choristers and organist at Durham Cathedral, By Gavin Havery gavin.havery@nne.co.uk said: “The arrival of girl choristers is an exciting and momentous development, into which have gone years of planning.

“Durham will continue to cherish the English cathedral tradition of boy trebles and men, while celebrating the opportunities that girl trebles and men’s voices will allow.”

The girls’ next service will be evensong and procession on Tuesday, November 17.

Girl and boy choristers will take part in a service to commemorate founders and benefactors on Sunday, November 22, and will take part in the main services of advent and the nine lessons and carols at Christmas.

Mr Lancelot said: “With 40 choristers rather than 20, we will be better equipped to grasp the many outreach and partnerships which we now have and wish to develop further.

“I am delighted for the cathedral, and for the young people who are able to experience this unique musical training.”