The Freemasons are giving £50,000 to Worcester Cathedral to help fund the training of a stonemason.

Half the money that has been pledged is coming from Worcestershire Freemasons and this is being matched pound for pound by the national Freemasons’ Grand Charity.

The cathedral is one of eight out of the 42 in England that keep a full-time contingent of highly skilled stonemasons on the payroll and it is the aim of the chapter to ensure they always have an apprentice stonemason in training.

Richard Goddard, provincial grand master for Worcestershire, said: “Worcestershire Freemasons have supported our cathedral for well over 150 years and it remains very important to Freemasons in Worcestershire. We are delighted the Freemasons’ Grand Charity has decided to match our local pledge with a cheque for £25,000 this year.

“This cathedral has been a focus for the community for over 1,000 years and by supporting an apprentice stonemason, we are assisting in making sure it stands for another 1,000.”

Mr Goddard presented a cheque for £25,000 to the Dean of Worcester Cathedral, the Very Rev Peter Atkinson. The remainder will be raised during the five- year training period of the apprentice.

This is the second apprentice Worcestershire Freemasons have part-funded. One of the theories surrounding the origins of Freemasonry is that it dates back to mediaeval guilds of stonemasons.