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Stonemason looking for an apprentice

PUBLISHED: 15:35 11 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:37 30 June 2010

FOR nearly 50 years he has painstakingly engraved thousands of headstones for Great Yarmouth families.

And now traditional monumental mason Colin Smith is hoping to pass on his skills to the next generation.

FOR nearly 50 years he has painstakingly engraved thousands of headstones for Great Yarmouth families.

And now traditional monumental mason Colin Smith is hoping to pass on his skills to the next generation.

He is seeking a young apprentice to take up chisel and hammer to help him engrave and shape black slabs of polished granite into treasured tributes to loved ones.

Mr Smith became an apprentice at 15 in 1962 for funeral directors and monumental masons Brundish and Son. Since then, he has used the same techniques to engrave headstones, shaking his head at shot-blasters and computer design programmes.

He still uses a set of chisels he first used in 1962.

Mr Smith, a 62-year-old father of two who has lived in Yarmouth all his life, spoke this week about some of the more unusual headstones he had crafted and the heartbreak of engraving his own parents' headstones. He recalled inscribing a headstone with the Pink Panther character sitting in an armchair, and has engraved many with fishing boats to reflect Yarmouth's heritage. Interestingly, he has already engraved his own headstone, which reads: “Just walking the dog” - a reference to his beloved pet, Alfie.

In his quest to find a suitable trainee Mr Smith visited an apprenticeship workshop at Yarmouth College.

Explaining the joys of his traditional profession, he said: “I just love using my hands: I see them as my brain.

“I see this as a very good opportunity for a young person who loves using their hands.”

Interested? Then call Mr Smith at his Hammond Road workshop on 01493 844288.

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