TAUNTON Freemasons are throwing open their doors to the community in celebration of the founding of the world's first Grand Lodge at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in London 300 years ago.

People can find out more about the traditions and values of Freemasonry at an open day at Taunton Masonic Hall, in The Crescent on Saturday, September 30, from 10am to 4pm.

They will be able to see inside the hall and view the many artefacts gathered since a first lodge was set up in the county town in 1788.

Members of the nine current active Taunton lodges will be on hand to act as guides and answer questions over a cup of tea or coffee as well as representatives from a number of charities that benefit from monies donated by masons.

Taunton Freemasons have donated £74,000 to local charities since 2008, with hospices, Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance and Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment (SURE) major recipients.

Teddy bears are also bought and supplied to hospitals to enable staff to give them to children as a distraction from their trauma or treatment.