A TALENTED former architect of Winchester Cathedral has died, aged 75.

Corinne Bennett MBE was involved with major stone repairs, alterations to the quire and the installation of lighting during her 15-year stint at the attraction.

When she took up the position in 1974 she was the first woman to be appointed as a cathedral architect.

Keith Bennett, to whom she was married for more than 30 years, said: “She became a popular figure with the local community and her roof tours of the upper parts of the cathedral - with her intimate knowledge - were legendary.”

The Very Rev James Atwell, Dean of Winchester, said: “Corinne had a great love of Winchester Cathedral which she cared for with great diligence as cathedral architect, and even after she retired she never missed Friends of Winchester Cathedral AGM.

“I shall much miss her as an encourager and friend.”

The couple only moved to their address in Beggar's Lane three years ago having spent three decades in Michelmersh near Romsey.

Mr Bennett, paying tribute to his wife, said: “She was loved very much for her smile.

She was kind, very modest and humble. When people hear what she's done [in her life] they're amazed.”

Mrs Bennett, née Wilson, grew up in Montreal but came to England in 1944 and was schooled at the Sacred Heart Convent in Hove, West Sussex.

She knew at the age of 12 she wanted to be involved with the repair of ancient monuments and historic buildings. So it was no surprise that, a few years after graduating in 1963, she took up a position with the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works - known as English Heritage today.

During this period she undertook important pioneering work in stone preservation and cleaning on buildings such as The Tower of London, the Jewel Tour and main hall at Westminster and Holyrood House.

Mr Bennett added: “Corinne was always at home in a quarry and discussing stone and carving with masons. Her love of stone came from her father, a professor of geology. Indeed it was this interest and a mutual friend that she met me, her personal cornerstone.”

In 1968 she joined Purcell, Miller and Tritton architects, later opening a branch office in Sevenoaks, Kent, having been made a senior partner.

It was her work on many churches in Kent that earned her an MBE in 1988. A year later she set up, with her husband, the Hampshire and The Islands Historic Churches Trust.

A long career so her work on Brighton Pavilion; Greenwich's Royal Naval College and English College, Rome; There will be mass of thanksgiving and reception for Mrs Bennett at St George's RC Cathedral in Southwark, London, SE1, at 11am, on Thursday, September 30.