The Duchess of Fife laid the first of 10,000 bricks on Thursday as part of a community project to build Brechin Cathedral in Lego.
Caroline Carnegie, who is also the patron of Brechin 2020, formally launched the Brechin Cathedral Lego Model Project at a special ceremony in the Cathedral Hall.
A 300,000 brick Lego model of Durham Cathedral, which took three years to complete, provided the inspiration for the project which will recruit a community-wide squad of ‘brickies’.
Professional Lego building company Bright Bricks were contacted by Brechin 2020 and used software to produce the design from four digital images of the building.
Steve Dempsey, Brechin 2020 chairman, said: “This whole project is about engaging with the local community in a purposeful way to help celebrate the 800th anniversary of Brechin Cathedral in 2020.
“We have taken delivery of 10,000 Lego bricks and will be going around all of the local schools and other events to give people the chance to build a section.”
Mr Dempsey said the 800th anniversary programme is going ahead despite a major question mark hanging over the cathedral’s long-term future amid plans for the dwindling congregation to move to the town’s smaller Gardiner Church.
He said the first public event will take place on Sunday in the Cathedral Hall from 2 to 4pm where people can get involved in building the model.
The Lego fundraising project is part of a programme of events which will take place to mark the milestone for one of Scotland’s oldest sites of worship.
The model will be kept in Brechin Cathedral when it is finally completed.
Angus provost Ronnie Proctor said: “I think it’s great that this project is taking place to celebrate the anniversary of Brechin Cathedral and its importance – not just to Brechin but to the whole of Angus.
“It’s really good for the pupils to be involved and it gives them a grasp of their heritage and hopefully they will remember this and make sure that Brechin Cathedral is at the forefront of their minds as it passes to future generations.”
Mr Proctor was in attendance alongside pupils from the cluster schools and invited guests including Angus Lord Lieutenant Georgiana Osborne.
Norman Atkinson, a life member of the Friends of Brechin Cathedral and Round Tower, opened the event with a talk on the building’s history.
The 12th Century building is one of the most-recognisable in this area and has stood as a symbol for nearly 800 years, as the community of Brechin rose up around it.
It has been a cathedral since it was founded by King David I in 1150 but “very productive” preliminary discussions have taken place to seek a union with Gardner Memorial Church in Brechin.
A continuing decline in attendance and financial support at Brechin Cathedral, along with the impending departure of the minister has prompted the review.
Botched roof repairs were blamed for the cathedral’s perilous financial position which carries a debt of £140,000 which includes £73,000 which was paid out to repair poor workmanship.
The building has a lot of historic material inside it including the 9th Century St Mary cross, two Pictish stones, an 11th Century Hogback and a 12th/13th Century font.
At one time it was the cathedral for Angus and the Mearns and attracts many visitors from all over the world.