ALMOST £80,000 has been given to charities in County Durham as part of an organisations 300th anniversary celebrations.

Durham Freemasons has given the money to charities across the county, including Northumbria Blood Bikes, Teesdale Disability Access Forum, Centrepoint North East, The Bridge Young Carers in Bishop Auckland and Cafe JJ in Crook

Provincial Grand Master Norman Eric Heaviside said: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate three hundred years of Freemasonry by helping eight excellent local charities.

“We’ve been active in charity work for all that time, but this is the first occasion we’ve asked the public to help us decide how to spend our money. We are very pleased that so many people from within our Durham Province took part in the vote.”