ALMOST £15,000 has been awarded to local charitable causes during an open day held by the Basingstoke branch of the Freemasons on May 17.

The open day, which also saw local charities including St Michael’s Hospice and Basingstoke Shopmobility hold stalls promoting the services they offer, was held on May 17 at the Masonic Centre, in Victoria Street.

Visitors to the centre were given a guided walk around the venue, including the room where the six lodges meet in the centre. These are the Oakley Lodge, Elvetham Lodge, Basing Lodge, Loddon Lodge, Vyne Lodge and the Chevaliers de fer Lodge.

The Basingstoke Multiple Sclerosis Society, in Alton Road, scooped one of the biggest awards after being presented with a cheque for £1,842 and St Michael’s Hospice, in Aldermaston Road was given £1,000.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane, Councillor Dan Putty was also awarded £1,000 to give to his two charities. The money will be split between Sebastian’s Action Trust and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation.

Smaller awards were given to Basingstoke Neighbour Care, in White Hart Lane, which received £500 and The Pink Place, in Wote Street, who was awarded £600 to help fund their services.

Roy Elmslee, training and education representative for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Provincial Lodge said: “It is a good community exercise from our point of view. People always associate the Freemasons with having a charity and supporting themselves and an event like this helps us to show that we do support ourselves but we support other charities in a big way.”

Helena Maskell, senior fundraising manager at St Michael’s Hospice added: “The Freemasons have been supporting us for many years and we have been very fortunate to benefit from their generosity and this year, St Michael’s Hospice has been chosen as the charity of the year by the Grand Lodge, which is fantastic.”