East Kent Freemasons have given a grant of £31,000 to the Canterbury Cathedral Trust to support the fourth year’s training for a young apprentice stonemason at the Cathedral, which comes through the Masonic Charitable Foundation
At a recent ceremony, Provincial Grand Master Geoffrey Dearing, presented the donation to the Dean of Canterbury, the Very Reverend Dr Robert Willis, saying how pleased the fraternity was to be able to continue their support for the scheme.
In reply, the Dean thanked him and all who had contributed saying how much it meant to the Cathedral and to the young apprentices who were just coming into 'these wonderful crafts here at the Cathedral'.
The apprenticeship programme at the Cathedral offers vocational training to young people that is truly life-changing. Seven apprentices are currently employed at Canterbury – four stonemasons, one painter and decorator, one scaffolder and one chef.
Apprentices are recruited through Kent schools, colleges and advertisements in the local press. Coming from varied backgrounds, they are encouraged to explore their creative talents within the inspirational setting of the Cathedral as well as developing the technical and life skills needed for a career in their chosen trade or craft. Whilst these training placements are exceptional opportunities in their own right, the Cathedral also makes every effort to provide subsequent employment for the apprentices.
Heather Newton, the Head of Conservation at the Cathedral, explained how the donation would be used: 'We are incredibly grateful to the Freemasons of East Kent and to the Masonic Charitable Foundation for this continuing support. There are lots of expenses associated with training Craft apprentices.
'We need to cover everything from travelling costs to and from College, to tools, specialist clothing and the time of more experienced Masons who act as trainers and mentors for our young people.'
This latest grant is in addition to the gift of over £300,000 presented to the Cathedral by the Provinces of East and West Kent, Surrey and Sussex, as part of the celebration of the Tercentenary of the founding of the United Grand Lodge of England in 1717. It continues a long and much valued relationship with the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion which dates back over 150 years.