W Bro John Newton of Sempre Frates Lodge No 4467 tells us the heartwarming story of his
Grandson Tom Blyth.
As a teenager, Tom Blyth of Woodthorpe, Nottinghamshire, had a dream of acting.
Since he was eleven years old, Tom aspired and worked hard to get the best actor training possible, to go to one to one of the top Performing Arts establishments in the world. He wanted desperately to go to Juilliard, the world’s most predominant school for the arts, in New York.
He submitted a video and after two trips to New York and five rounds of Auditions, he was offered a place on their Bachelor of Fine Arts, a four-year degree course, one of only nine, from thousands of applicants.
Student grants or loans aren’t available to international students, but Tom was offered a scholarship from Juilliard to cover 50% of his tuition fees. So, Tom found himself needing to raise the remaining half of his fees for the four years, in addition to the costs of accommodation, travel, health insurance, and other basic living costs.
He worked hard for sponsorship in many areas and had been given hopes of funding. But on the day after Brexit, he received two letters saying the companies who had offered to sponsor him, were now no longer able to do so.
Faced with the lack of funds, it seemed all of his dreams had come to an end!
However, that afternoon, not only was it back in play but he was offered something beyond his wildest hopes.
Luckily for Tom, his grandfather is a Freemason and knew Freemasonry may be able to save the day
The Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys came through, just when all his options had disappeared and he thought his dream was over before it had begun.
Talent Aid, part of the RMTGB, offered to sponsor him to go to Juilliard; for the remaining half of his tuition fees as well as a living stipend, for all four years.
Sadly, Tom lost his father some years ago. Tom said “I come from a working class, single parent background and have always known that nothing will be handed to me on a plate.
The career I have chosen to embark upon is one that requires graft, dedication, and tenacity, and I will give the whole of myself to make it. But I could not have gotten here without the support from Talent Aid.
inI feel so honoured to receive this support and will be forever grateful to the fraternity of Freemasons
All of this gave Tom the chance so few have in life; he can chase his dreams.
John, his grandfather said, “We are so proud of him and are delighted and grateful that our family will benefit from the wonderful support given by the Masonic Charitable Foundation”.
Almost 6 years on, and what has Tom made of the opportunity, along with a promised dedication to himself and all those who’ve supported him?
Well, before even graduating in 2021, Tom was picked out by top agents in the US and UK, and against all odds at the height of the pandemic, landed his first major role in the British period drama “Benediction”.
He then went on to land a role in HBO’s epic new drama “The Gilded Age” from the creator of “Downton Abbey”, set and filmed in New York.
Most recently, he starred as the title role in “Billy the Kid”, a new TV series from MGM, playing the infamous, outlaw cowboy.
He will soon be starring in his first major feature film “Discussion Materials”, filming in Los Angeles.
So, what’s next on the cards for Tom?
Does his Grandad think he could one day be the next James Bond?
Time will tell, but the future certainly looks bright.