A GROUP of Cheshire Freemasons spent a cold night on the street in aid of Wirral charity helping the homeless and needy.

Their efforts helped raise £14,000 for Charles Thompson Mission in Birkenhead.

Those sleeping out included 14 members of Bohemian Chapter and Combermere Lodge plus two of their wives.

Their collective efforts raised £12,600 through sponsorship, which was topped up by a donation of £1,400 from the Cheshire Freemasons Charity.

A delegation from handed over the donation to the mission's manager Bernie Frost during a recent visit.

Senior Cheshire Freemason David Dyson said: "What the members have done is incredible, not just in raising funds, but also to highlight the issue of homelessness and the human story that sits behind it.

"The men and women who slept out will be the first to say they 'chose' to do so, yet sadly many don't have the 'choice', they sleep out all the time.

"The Charles Thompson Mission is a great charity doing an incredible job and one we have supported for some time.

"It is clear to see the positive the work they do has as on those in need".

The mission was opened in 1892 by Charles Thompson.

He died in 1903, but his goals lived on through daughter Annie who took over and was the charity's Lady Superintendent for 60 years.

She was awarded the MBE in 1953 for services to the people of Birkenhead.

The mission provides food, furniture, clothes, healthcare, counselling services and even toys for the borough's poorest children.

It is now run by Bernie Frost, who first got involved 14 years ago as a volunteer and has been manager for seven years.