Soul songstress Gladys Knight is contributing thousands of dollars of her own money towards a project to save an abandoned North Carolina school where her mother once worked.

The Midnight Train To Georgia hitmaker and her husband Billy MCDowell have reportedly paid $85,000 (£53,125) for the segregation-era school in Canton, North Carolina and are raising funds to turn it into a public recreation centre.

Editors at report Knight and MCDowell are now helping to raise the estimated $2 million (£1.25 million) renovation cost and the couple hope the project will help to preserve the community's history.

Knight's mother worked at the school as a janitor but the building has been remained unused since the 1950s when schools in the area were integrated.