FREEMASONS have given a £500 boost to Durham Mayor John Lightley's charity appeal.

Councillor Lightley is raising money for the Treetops Ward at the University Hospital of North Durham, which treats children, and the Gala Theatre Stage School, which gives young actors the chance to perform on the 500-seat venue's stage.

The Universities Lodge of Freemasons visited the town hall on Saturday for a reception and handed the cheque to Councillor Lightley, part of its drive to get more involved in the wider community.

The masons, and their wives or partners, were given a guided tour of the historic building and in the evening they returned the mayor's hospitality by inviting him for dinner at the Masonic Hall, Old Elvet, Durham.

Lodge member John Gibson said; "This donation illustrates the lodge's commitment to the national initiative of developing links between Freemasonry and the wider community."