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Durham Cathedral stonemason offered lifeline with heritage trade funding

29 January 2021

Peter Crinnion, a Stonemason at Durham Cathedral has been offered a lifeline from the Hamish Ogston Foundation (HOF) who have joined forced with the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship (CWF), to fund twenty-one stonemasonry and joinery trainees at English cathedrals in 2021.

Peter, who is currently a CWF Level 5 student, started his course back in 2019 with a number of other students from different heritage organisations across the country. However, with the arrival of Covid-19, lectures, practical assessments and trips to heritage sites around the country had to be cancelled with the work-based study programme put on hold until September 2020, leaving many students on furlough.

Now, as part of a longer-term 2.8m HOF/CWF investment aimed at keeping alive the specialist skills needed to repair and maintain cathedrals, the emergency HOF funding will allow Peter to continue the remainder of his study.

Peter said “I think we all foresaw that our course would face disruptions when Coronavirus cases began to appear in the UK at the start of 2020. We were disappointed that trips and lectures were cancelled but we all understood that it was necessary to postpone these elements of the course, with priorities lying with peoples’ safety.

“I am glad that the Hamish Ogston Foundation are championing the importance of craftspeople like myself, and that their funding will allow me to continue with the course. I remain hopeful that at some point we will be able to continue with the field trips and to explore and learn about the other fantastic cathedrals we have in our country.”

The two year course with the CWF leads to a Foundation degree in Applied Historic Building Conservation and Repair, creating a new generation of craftsmen and women to care for our cathedrals and heritage buildings.

Frances Cambrook, Executive Director of the CWF said: “We are very excited to be working with the Hamish Ogston Foundation on this important initiative. Cathedrals, like everyone, have been hit hard by the pandemic and the immediate future of our craft training programmes was in jeopardy. The funding will enable training to continue online throughout the rest of this academic year, avoiding the loss of trainee positions, and enable us to plan confidently to increase training opportunities over the next four years.”

Find more information about the amazing work of the Cathedrals’ Workshop Fellowship and the Hamish Ogston Foundation online.

Pictured: Peter with Francis in 2019