AN A-level student has been sworn in as one of the youngest freemen in Britain.

Eighteen-year-old Jack Elliott joined the historic Durham Freemen at a ceremony held in the city’s Guildhall today.

But the teenager is not the youngest in the country, an honour which still belongs to his sister Beth who pipped him to the title by just 16 days.

Jack, who lives in Great Lumley, near Chester-le-Street, applied to become a member of the city’s Mason’s Company shortly after his 18th birthday last year.

He is following in the steps of Beth, his father John, a senior manager with Northern Power Grid, and grandfather Bob, the warden of the company.

The process of joining the historic body requires his name to be called, without objection, at Guild Day on three occasions and he was formally admitted 227 days later.

But sister Beth was quicker off the block with her application and fired off the paperwork immediately after her 18th birthday, taking the oath of allegiance 211 days later.

“We have always been quite competitive and while I was mildly disappointed to miss out I was content the title appears to be staying in the family for the foreseeable future,” said Jack, a pupil at Park View School in Chester-le-Street.

Jack will sit his A-levels in biology, chemistry and maths over the next few weeks and eventually hopes to take up a career in research laboratories in the pharmaceutical industry.

Over the summer he will join a scientific survey team in the rainforests of Honduras, examining the habits of bats and other small mammals before spending a week scuba diving off the country’s coast to survey marine life.

“Living in the rainforest without running water and most of comforts of home will be quite a challenge but I am really looking forward to the whole experience,” he said.

Beth left Park View School in the summer of 2015 to take up a place at Leicester University on a five-year course studying medicine.