Laurie Lambeth, dry stone waller
Laurie Lambeth is a dry stone waller for Lambeth Stonework. He was chosen as the winner of the Cultural Heritage Skills Award, as part of the the Creative & Cultural Skills Awards 2015.
Nominations are now open for the Creative & Cultural Skills Awards 2016.
Laurie Lambeth works as a dry stone waller for Lambeth Stonework, a small business which focuses on traditional dry stone walling and stone masonry, including ornamental and decorative work, across Northumberland, Cumbria and County Durham.
Laurie's journey with stone started right at the beginning of his working life in the late nineties. He has since gone on to develop a range of skills in this heritage craft, offering an increasing variety of specialist services and launching his business.
Laurie was put forward for the Cultural Heritage Skills Award by Lesley Silvera from the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Passing on heritage skills
Although initially reluctant to take on trainees into his business because of the risk he felt they posed, after a trial Laurie found he had a talent for teaching.
Lesley said: "Laurie is unusual in that he has got himself trained into a heritage profession from an early age and he can easily relate to young people.
He combines his enjoyment of the outdoors
with work and manages to enthuse people in the most extreme weather conditions.
"He is imaginative in his approach as he can see the potential of extremely arduous projects, which makes him an inspirational character and also gives the profession and his trainees an extremely high profile.
"He combines his enjoyment of the outdoor environment with work and manages to enthuse people in the most extreme weather conditions. He is extremely fit himself and encourages and mentors trainees to keep up. He has a quick and dry sense of humour, which works well when teaching young people."
Helping young people into work
Laurie trained two people in 2013 who went on to set up small businesses in dry stone walling themselves. He also took on two trainees in 2014 with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and has since trained them to the point where they could take level one and two tests and become professional wallers.
As part of this they worked on a variety of structures, including the iconic Cross Fell shelter: a refuge for Pennine Way walkers and a place known for the unyielding Helm Wind that creates a roller effect along the western face of the Pennine block.
In order to keep up his commitment to helping with improving skills and entry routes for young people, Laurie plans to participate in training schemes in Cumbria in 2015 run by the Dry Stone Walling Association’s Linda Clarkson. He has also agreed to run some taster days for the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Lesley, Laurie's nominator and endorser, said: "Laurie Lambeth has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural heritage of the dry stone walling features of the North Pennines.
"He sets an incredibly high standard of work, is unbelievably well motivated, has a natural teaching ability and extremely pleasant manner, whilst working in some of the most inhospitable and harsh outdoor environments in England."