Freemasons grants aid cathedral work

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One of North Yorkshire’s best known and impressive churches has been given a financial lift from the region’s Freemasons to help with its ongoing maintenance programme.

Ripon Cathedral has received two grants totalling £12,500 which are being used to pay for the renewal of ancient flagstones which, over the years, have become broken and worn.

The Dean of Ripon, The Very Rev John Dobson, received the payments - one for £7,500 from West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd, and a second, for £5,000, from the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

These were presented by David S Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of the Freemasons’ Province of Yorkshire, West Riding; Jack Pigott, Chairman of West Riding Masonic Charities; and Paul Clarke, Assistant Provincial Grand Master.

Also on hand was Julia Baker, Director of Operations for Ripon Cathedral, and stone mason Wayne Denny, who was in the cathedral working on a section of flooring.

Rt W Bro Pratt said: “It is wonderful that money raised by Freemasons, locally and throughout the Province, is helping in the ongoing conservation work of this magnificent place of worship.

“Next year, we will be holding a service at Ripon Cathedral to celebrate the Province’s 200th anniversary and the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, and it will be wonderful to see how the restoration of the flagstones is proceeding.”

The Very Rev John Dobson said: “We are very grateful to the Freemasons for these two grants. It is fitting that this money is to be used to repair stonework, which will be done by a ‘master’ stonemason.

“We rely on the generosity of individuals, business and organisations to help in the running and upkeep of the cathedral, and these donations are very welcome indeed.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Rt W Bro Pratt and his colleagues back to Ripon Cathedral later next year.”

One of the oldest cathedrals in England, Ripon’s has stood on the same site since 672, making it one of the first stone churches built in England since the end of the Western Roman Empire.

It has survived medieval wars, being burned down by William the Conqueror and the chaos of the Wars of the Roses.

As such the cathedral needs constant preservation efforts and periodical restoration to keep it open to worshippers and the public.

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