An Orange lodge in Co Down is now being led by two men believed to be among the youngest ever to assume such roles.
Greyabbey LOL 1592 recently installed Joel Kelly, 20, and Charlie Davidson,19, to the senior positions of worshipful master and deputy master respectively.
Mr Kelly will undertake the leadership role, and the responsibilities associated with it, over the course of the next two years. Mr Davidson, who will serve as his assistant, is due to become worshipful master in early 2019.
Reflecting on his selection, Joel said he was “very proud” to receive the backing of his peers.
“It is very nice to have such support and it is pleasing to take up the role, particularly given the fact I am following in the footsteps of my father who also served as master of the lodge.”
The Greyabbey native, accountable to 20 members, said he is already embracing the role and is “getting involved with loads of things” relating to the lodge’s activities.
Joel maintained Orangeism was very much “part of his culture and heritage” and encouraged other young people to consider joining the institution.
Charlie, a trainee butcher, said he is “very honoured” to serve as deputy master.
“It is a privilege to be elected to the position as generations of my family have been members of the lodge.”
The teenager admitted he was shocked, but nonetheless humbled, to be considered by fellow brethren for the senior role.
“It just goes to show the trust the other members have for Joel and myself.”
Whilst focused fully on his deputy duties, Charlie is already looking forward to a significant date during his anticipated future tenure as lodge master.
“Hopefully when it comes to my term we are due to host the Twelfth of July in 2020 – that will be a big honour for the lodge.”
In the meantime, Mr Davidson promised to offer his full support to the current lodge master.
Two years ago, it was reported Fardross LOL 683, Clogher, Co Tyrone, had installed a 21-year-old as its master.
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland congratulated both Joel and Charlie on their recent election.
A spokesman said: “Greyabbey’s leadership team would certainly be among the youngest ever installed by an individual lodge. We wish Joel and Charlie every success in their new roles and trust the added responsibility will be of benefit to their personal development and the outworkings of the lodge.”