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Durham Cathedral Stonemason receives prestigious Masons' Livery Company award

16 February 2021

Durham Cathedral is delighted to announce that Gary Holliday, a Stonemason Supervisor at the cathedral has been awarded the Masons' Livery Company - Journeyman Mason Certificate Award for 2021.


The award is one of the highest accolades given by the Worshipful Company of Masons to those who have displayed consistently high levels of craft skill for a period of at least 10 years and who have demonstrated their commitment to furthering not just their own craft, but also skills of their mentees and apprentices. Above all, it serves as formal recognition from Gary’s peers that in his pursuit of excellence in his trade, he is shining example of his profession.


Gary, from Consett in County Durham, trained to become a mason as an apprentice at J.L.D Stone based in Thornley, as well as training at York College between 2002-2005. Gary has worked at the cathedral for 6 years and in his time here has become a SPAB (Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings) fellow as well as mentor to two masons, one of which is currently a student on the national Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship programme.


Gary said of the achievement: “Receiving the Journeyman Mason Award is definitely a career highlight for me. I feel extremely honoured to receive such a prestigious award, especially as I was nominated by my peers. Working at Durham Cathedral has provided me with many opportunities to further my knowledge as a stonemason working in conservation. I am extremely passionate about passing on everything I have learned through my career to apprentices and young stonemasons to ensure the traditional craft skills of stonemasonry remains ever-present in the modern world”.


Maya Polenz, Head of property at Durham Cathedral nominated Gary for the award in recognition of his outstanding supervision of the cathedral’s  junior masons, as well as his own impressive portfolio of masonry work. Gary’s work was then submitted to the Chairman of the Stonemasons Award Sub-Group, before being consideration by an appointed panel of Liverymen and Freemen with extensive stone industry experience.


Commodore Adrian Munns OBE - Chairman of the Masons’ Livery Company Craft and Training Committee said that: “Since 2014 the Masons’ Company has participated in the national awards, developed by the Livery Company Skills Council, that offer through career certification to specially selected craftspeople: Apprentices, Journeymen and Master Craftsmen.  The Awards are designed to encourage the pursuit of excellence in vocational education and training through craft skills.

“Journeyman Awards have been made by the Masons’ Company only since 2019, and with two awards being made in 2021 there will now be six Journeyman continuing to add great value to the national built heritage and new-build through their stonemasonry craft skills.  I am delighted that Gary Holliday from Durham Cathedral has been selected to receive this prestigious award and wish him continued success into the future”.

Due to ongoing Covid19 restrictions, the usual award ceremony where certificates are presented by the Lord Mayor of London has been postponed. Instead Gary will be congratulated by the Master Mason and invited to accept the ‘Charge’ placed on him by this award during a digital ceremony. 

Find more information about the work of The Worshipful Company of Masons online.

IMAGE- Joe Cornish, 2017