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Apprentice appeal produces results

PUBLISHED: 09:40 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:49 30 June 2010

An appeal from a Great Yarmouth monumental mason to find an apprentice to learn the craft of engraving headstones has resulted in more than 20 applications.

An appeal from a Great Yarmouth monumental mason to find an apprentice to learn the craft of engraving headstones has resulted in more than 20 applications.

Colin Smith has spent the last 48 years engraving headstones for grieving families in the Yarmouth area.

Earlier this month Mr Smith launched an appeal to try and find a youngster to take up a chisel and hammer to follow in his footsteps by using traditional engraving methods.

Yesterday, he received his 22nd apprentice application for the trainee post, with 15 from the Yarmouth area and others from Norwich, Wymondham and Mundesley.

To try and impress Mr Smith some of the applicants have even walked around churchyards to research headstones.

Mr Smith will now whittle the 22 would-be masons down to a shortlist of five who will be invited for an interview and to work in his Hammond Road workshop for a day.

Describing the large volume of responses to his appeal, Mr Smith, 62, said: “It is very heartening isn't it?

“The attributes I am looking for are showing patience, lots of common sense and someone who is looking forward to working in this fascinating trade.”

Mr Smith hopes his new apprentice could be funded through a government scheme administrated via Yarmouth College.

He became an apprentice in 1962, aged 15, for Yarmouth funeral director and monumental mason Brundish and Son and still has the first set of chisels he used 48 years ago.

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