THE Freemasons have donated £50,000 between four Herefordshire organisations to mark their 300th anniversary.

The Grand Lodge of Freemasons in London was established in 1717 and to mark the event The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF), the central Masonic charity, has distributed £3 million to 300 charities across England and Wales.

The Herefordshire share of this was £50,000, divided between four charities nominated by the Masonic Province of Herefordshire according to a public vote.

Blackmarston School, for children with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, received £25,000; Yeleni Therapy and Support, service the physical, emotional and therapeutic needs of anyone suffering with any form of cancer in Herefordshire, received £15,000; Herefordshire Headway, providing support and rehabilitation for people with acquired brain injury, received £6,000; and Martha Trust, providing specialised nursing care for people with profound and multiple physical and intellectual disabilities, received £4,000.

All the money distributed by the MCF comes from the Freemasons and their immediate connections – it is not collected from the public.

The charities were presented with their awards at a special ceremony by the Provincial Grand Master of Herefordshire Freemasons, the Rev’d David Bowen.

“We are delighted to be able to celebrate three hundred years of Freemasonry by helping four excellent local charities," said Rev Bowen.

"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 Herefordshire took part in the vote.”

At the ceremony, held at the Province’s Hereford headquarters, representatives of the four charities expressed their pleasure and gratitude at receiving such generous grants from the Masonic community, each giving a brief presentation on their work and how they plan to use the funding, in each case for specific projects which will significantly improve the services they are able to offer.