Durham Freemasons have donated £50,000 to a restoration project in their city’s cathedral.
The Provincial Grand Master for Durham, Norman Eric Heaviside, presented the cheque to The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, at the annual meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Durham in the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston, Gateshead.
The money represents the first half of the £100,000 pledged by the local Freemasons towards the laying of a new stone floor in Cathedral’s Great Kitchen as part of the Open Treasure project.
The Great Kitchen will house the Treasures of St Cuthbert, precious Anglo-Saxon artefacts.
Some £70,000 has so far been raised by the Freemasons of Durham, as part of their celebrations of 300 years of Freemasonry. Money was raised by individuals, lodges and chapters throughout the county.
Mr Heaviside said at the presentation: “We, as Freemasons are incredibly proud of our heritage and are extremely lucky to have a World Heritage Site like Durham Cathedral on our doorstep.
“The Freemasons, for many years now, have had a strong link with this building and that is why we chose to get involved with Open Treasure.”
The multi-million pound Open Treasure project hopes to transform the experience of visiting the cathedral, opening previously closed areas and engaging more with visitors.
The Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove, Dean of Durham, says, “The Cathedral Chapter and community are thrilled that the Freemasons have chosen to support Open Treasure in this way.
“The project will enable visitors to the Cathedral to be inspired by its wonderful collections and historic spaces.
“The provision of the new stone floor in what is one of the finest examples of a medieval monastic kitchen in Europe is greatly appreciated.
“It is most fitting that the Freemasons, with their long history of championing craftsmanship and heritage skills, are funding an element of the project directly associated with the fabric of this magnificent building.”