The Okehampton District and Community Transport Group (ODCTG) received a £15,000 cheque from the Freemasons recently to go towards continuing its services in the Okehampton area.

Nicholas Ball, head of the Devonshire Freemasons and colleague Anthony Eldred presented ODCTG manager Sue Wonnacott with the chequeon behalf of the Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) and the Freemasons of Devonshire.

Mr Ball said: ‘Local community services such as yours are invaluable especially in country areas, the need is probably greater in the Westcountry than most other parts of the country, it therefore gives me the greatest of pleasure to be able to support the Okehampton & District Community Transport Group with this grant of £15,000 and would like to thank you and your team for the dedication shown to the service you provide.’

Sue Wonnacott said the donation would enable the charity to continue the work the way it has done for the last 33 years.

She added: ‘People don’t realise the cost of running the vehicles we use, they have to be serviced every ten weeks and the cost of upkeep alone runs into over £26, 000 each year. This Grant from the Freemasons of Devon and the Masonic Charitable Foundation will give us the ability to continue the services we bring to the elderly community from Winkleigh in the north of the County down as far as Chagford long into the future’.

The Okehampton & District Community Transport Group have been servicing the needs of the community for almost exactly thirty three years having started in May 1990 with a bus and a few volunteers. They now have two fifteen-seater buses, two wheelchair accessible buses with three drivers, around forty volunteer drivers with their own cars.They are a small local charity offering accessible transport for both healthcare and social journeys covering an extremely rural area of West Devon of 274 square miles. Beneficiaries are mostly elderly, frail, disabled and rurally isolated who cannot access public transport but require a door to door service.