A STONEMASON originally from Minchinhampton has died in a tragic accident in Sydney, Australia.
Alistair Bidmead, 35, was working on the façade of a school on Friday (August 5) when the structure collapsed and he was crushed by falling scaffolding and large stones.
Mr Bidmead had been on site restoring the 170-year-old Fort Street High School’s main building in the Petersham area of Sydney when the incident happened around 11.30am.
New South Wales emergency services attended including police, fire and rescue and paramedics but unfortunately Mr Bidmead was unable to be resuscitated.
It was reported that a crane was brought in to remove a stone slab which fell on Mr Bidmead.
A spokesperson for NSW Police Force said: “Emergency services were called to a school on Parramatta Road, Petersham, following reports that stone had collapsed on a man.
“Officers found a worker trapped underneath large stones.
“Paramedics attended and pronounced the man deceased.
“A crime scene was established and inquiries into the incident commenced.
“Safe Work NSW have been notified of the incident.”
Mr Bidmead moved to Australia in 2017 and was a highly skilled stonemason helping restore and conserve historic buildings.
He started work in the stone industry at the age of 16 undertaking an apprenticeship with a local masonry company.
He went on to further his skills at Bath College and later set up his own company Bidmead & Co at the age of 19.
In 2012, Mr Bidmead was awarded first place in a Cotswold dry stone walling competition and was presented with his award by Princess Anne in a ceremony at Gatcombe Park.
Speaking to the SNJ at the time, Mr Bidmead described being presented with his trophy as ‘a surprise and an honour’.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the day and look forward to participating in future Cotswolds dry stone walling competitions,” he said.
Mr Bidmead also won first place in a different competition against 19 other competitors at an event in Moreton-in-Marsh in 2009, when they were tasked with dismantling a wall and rebuilding it to a high standard within a strict time limit.
Mr Bidmead, who was 22 at the time, was one of the competition’s youngest participants.