Wigan mason is a guest at Durham Festival 2021 launch

W.Bro. John Mason and his wife Anne were delighted to be guests at the launch of the Province of Durham’s 2021 Festival in aid of the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys (RMTGB) at The Sage, an iconic musical venue in Gateshead looking across the River Tyne to Newcastle. Their granddaughter Emily, a regular attender at Sunday lunches at Bryn, was performing at the launch.

A marvellous group of young stars had been assembled including those who had received grants from TalentAid, part of the RMTGB. Among these beneficiaries was John and Anne’s granddaughter, Emily Douglas, who performed as a solo artiste on the French horn, both before and after the break.

Emily is shown between her granddad, John Mason, and R.W.Bro. N. Eric Heaviside, Provincial Grand Master of Durham and President of the RMTGB 2021 Festival.

Emily is shown between her granddad, John Mason, and R.W.Bro. N. Eric Heaviside, Provincial Grand Master of Durham and President of the RMTGB 2021 Festival.

Emily has had music lessons since she was a toddler and has worked really hard and achieved a scholarship to Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester where in addition to the normal academic subjects she studies the French horn and piano. The French horn that she learnt to play on was designed for a child. However as she grew older and had increased lung capacity it was necessary to have an adult instrument.

Without an adult instrument it would have been impossible for her to continue her studies and achieve her life’s dream of becoming a musician in a symphony orchestra. The cost of the French horn was a staggering £6,500 and seemed impossible to achieve. John told Emily’s Mum and Dad about TalentAid, part of the RMTGB, and encouraged them to apply. Emily, as the granddaughter of a freemason was eligible.

Emily, who has already at the age of 15 achieved a Diploma (Dip.ABRSM) is currently working towards her LRSM which she hopes to gain together with her GCSE’s in the Summer.

When the letter arrived from the RMTGB with an award of the full £6,500 Emily’s mum rang the Trust to check whether there had been a mistake. She thought perhaps it might have been £650. The response was that it was correct, and did she need more!

Emily explained to Granddad John how essential the instrument was to her if she was to progress as a musician. She then gave him a big hug and said: “Granddad, thank you for being a freemason. It has really changed my life.” The words lump and throat come to mind.

The Festival was attended by well over a thousand people to hear the Festival President, R.W.Bro. N.Eric Heaviside, Provincial Grand Master of Durham announce the target for RMTGB for 2021 was £2,712,768. At the launch he was able to announce that £750,000 of this had already been raised.