Stonemason celebrates 40 years at Durham Cathedral

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A DEDICATED worker is celebrating 40 years of keeping world-famous Durham Cathedral in tiptop shape.

Iain Wilmshurst was just 16 when got a job at the 11th Century monument in 1974 as an apprentice stonemason.

He said: “I didn’t have any plans to go to university or college and my parents both worked up at the Cathedral and heard about the apprenticeship so I decided to give it a go.”

Although he had no formal experience in stonemasonry, Iain started a four-year apprenticeship and his first job was working on a spiral staircase for the Deanery.

But although stonemasonry was the main focus, he also learned skills in bricklaying, plastering and drainage work.

Looking back on his training days Iain said: “It was really hard work learning so many skills that were so new to me as well as discipline and you wanted to earn the respect of those more senior than you too.

But stepping into management hasn’t been a completely easy transition for Iain, who added: “I’m used to being one of the team so I had to learn how to manage them but they know that I’ve worked with them so there is a two-way respect there, which is good.

“My mum would be so proud because she really worried what I would do when I left school and I’m quite proud of how far I’ve come too; it’s a great honour to work at such a world-renowned building.”