Success to the RMTGB
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Success to the RMTGB

In Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”, Lady Bracknell’s observations upon Mr Worthing’s inability to account for the absence of his parentage - something which Solicitors are often, following submission of their account, required by their clients to contemplate - are immortalised in her well-known edict: “to lose one parent may be regarded as misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness”.  
Although Wilde was a freemason – having being initiated into Apollo University Lodge Oxford at the age of 20 - under a university scheme conceived at the time by an AGM? - the fictional play does not address whether or not Mr Worthing was the son of a freemason but if he had been I have no doubt that the RMTGB would in fact have been there to support him - as it has been for other children in similar situations for over 200 years in its present format and those of its predecessors.
Throughout its long and distinguished history it has provided financial assistance towards the cost of education and ancillary matters for thousands of children as a consequence of their home life being interrupted or disrupted by adverse and in many cases tragic domestic conditions. Of particular relevance to us is the fact that during this period children from our own Province have continued to receive its help and more specifically during the last 12 months RMTGB has provided assistance to 28 of our children at a cost of £71,000; another three children have benefited from Talent/Aid scheme at a cost of £12,000.   
I think it is fair to say that for too long, too many our Brethren have laboured (and perhaps some still defiantly labour) under the misapprehension that RMTGB was a rather exclusive school “somewhere in London or the home counties” where teachers and pupils akin to Miss Jean Brodie and the crème de la crème enjoyed a privileged education which had little or no relevance to daily life in the North East.
Those of us who had had previous contact with RMTGB and were already aware of its work knew that this, quite simply, was not the case.   Communicating this to the majority, however, proved to be no easy task; the constitution and operation of RMTGB did not appear, regrettably, to inspire the required degree of interest of our Brethren or cause them to make any significant investigation into its aims – enquiry about the Chevalier being more likely to produce the response of “do you mean Maurice?” rather than “Ruspini” and about the Duchess of Cumberland, do you mean the local hostelry rather than a member of the Royal household and  patroness.
The production by RMTGB last year of the splendid booklet containing, as it did, so much useful information contributed greatly to stimulate interest and thanks principally to the not-inconsiderable efforts of the RMTGB President the Chief Executive and their willing helpers at headquarters many of our Brethren have over the past two years been suitably enlightened and have benefited from of a number of excellent presentations providing a detailed explanation of what the RMTGB is, how it operates and, most importantly, giving an account of just how many children nationally are in receipt of aid from it and the attendant cost thereof.    I am confident that all the recipients both within and outwith our Province are extremely grateful for the help which RMTGB has given and continues to give to them but I feel sure that you would wish to join with me in recording sincere thanks to RMTGB for all its assistance in the education and welfare of those recipients from this Province.
I have no doubt that due to the dedication of all those working within RMTGB it will continue to flourish and in so doing be ready and able to address the necessities relieve the distresses and soothe the afflictions of all less fortunate but deserving young people.  

The Masonic Festival system is well established and its purpose, I understand, remains for selected Provinces to provide funds annually to further endow the relevant charity with a capital sum to enable grants and awards to be distributed from the interest earned thereon.   Given the present financial climate it is of course vital that that capital base is expanded and extended as much as possible.    Other Provinces have of course made their contributions to RMTGB in the past; others will do so in the years ahead.   We have been directing our efforts in support of the RMTGB and it is very much our hope that these efforts have produced a result which will ensure its continued successful operation and may, perhaps will, be regarded as being of advantage to the RMTGB and satisfaction to the Province.  
On behalf of us all I acknowledge the considerable achievements and continued good work of RMTGB, express our best wishes for its future prosperity and with unfeigned pleasure I invite you to honour the toast “Success to the RMTGB”.

Proposed by the Festival President, R W Bro. Peter Magnay DL on 13th May 2009
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