SALISBURY Cathedral has been awarded the first of three £4,000 grants by national education charity the Ernest Cook Trust to help maintain its ancient choral tradition.

The funding will pay for a bursary for a young chorister over the next three years.

The cathedral offers all choristers a 30 per cent scholarship, and the opportunity to apply for hardship funding for talented children who otherwise could not take up a place.

Salisbury choristers join as ‘probationers’ aged seven or eight and are trained to sing to a professional standard.

All choristers attend the Cathedral School, which was founded in 1091.

Their education and choral training is enriched by broadcasts for radio and TV, CD recordings, concerts and national and international tours.

In 1991, Salisbury became the first cathedral to launch a separate Girls’ Choir, and today music is provided equally by girls and boys.

Salisbury Cathedral choir has been an integral part of the cathedral and the mainstay of a musical tradition of excellence for over 900 years,” said Salisbury Cathedral’s director of music David Halls.

“We hope to continue the valuable choral tradition for many more generations, and our aim is that no child should be excluded from joining the choir through lack of finances.”

In previous years, ECT has also helped fund Masonry Apprenticeships and Advanced Stone Carving training at the cathedral.

The Ernest Cook Trust (ECT), based in Fairford, Gloucestershire, is one of the UK’s leading educational charities, and is rooted in the conservation and management of the countryside.

The trust owns and manages 22,000 acres of landed estates across five counties in England.

ECT actively encourages children and young people to learn from the land through education programmes on its estates, and by giving grants.

Each year its Trustees distribute around £1.8m to a range of education initiatives.

n The cathedral is hosting a series of organ recitals. The next one features organist Paul Carr and takes place on Wednesday, August 30, 7.30pm.

Tickets, £10, are available online at or on the door.