THE Freemasons of Monmouthshire have donated over £26,000 to local charities in the last year - and celebrated helping their 500th good cause.

The organisation, which has around 1,400 members in the old county boundaries of Monmouthshire, has given the cash to 27 charities and good causes.

Those that will benefit from funding include Tredegar 6th Scouts (£1,000) Newport Womens Aid (£2,000) Newport Seals Disabled Swimming Club (£1,000) Torfaen-based charity Sight Cymru (£1,000) and Chepstow and District Mencap Society £500.

The funds were raised by holding a summer spectacular at Llantilio Crossenny, near Abergavenny.

This featured a classic car show and a sing off between Roy Orbison and Elvis Presley tribute acts and attracted more than 350 people.

Other fundraisers included barbecue garden parties, summer balls and an evening at Newport Masonic Hall by the Maindee Martial Arts and Fitness Centre which donated £2,000.

Anthony Halse, who is a member of the group’s Jasper Lodge and its charity steward, said: “These events along with raffles by lodges and other inspired ideas have allowed us to continue with the distribution of financial help to those around us who need as much assistance as they can get.”

Following the presentation of funds, which took place at Newport Masonic Hall, Mr Halse said: “A milestone was reached at that meeting.

"The last donation was for £2,000 to Newport Women’s Aid, that donation took the funds given from the trust fund to a total of 500 good causes.”

“We continue to strive to raise funds to help the less fortunate in our society and these donations only show some of the wonderful work Freemasons do on a regular basis.”

“The local hospices were also presented with cheques totalling £6,500 which came from our national charity fund.”