OLYMPIC medallist and Orangeman Alan Campbell has been recognised for his sporting achievement at this year’s Orange Community Awards.
Coleraine rower Alan received the esteemed Grand Master’s Award at the annual awards ceremony held in Londonderry on Saturday night in recognition of his bronze medal success at London 2012.
The oarsman, 29, was just one of a large number of individuals and lodges to be formally acknowledged by the Loyal Institution for their community outreach and achievements over the past 12 months.
Addressing attendees at the Waterside Theatre via a video message from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – where he is currently in training for the 2016 Olympics – Alan said he was humbled by the award.
The Grove LOL 648 member said: “It is a great honour to receive this award. The Grand Master’s prize is very, very special and I don’t take it lightly.
“In part, I do have to thank the support I’ve had from my own lodge in Garvagh, my wife Juliette and my mum and dad.”
He added: “I hope with your continued support through to Rio 2016, I’ll not only bring home gold to Coleraine and Northern Ireland – but also for the Orange Order.”
Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson – who personally nominated the sportsman – presented the award to Alan’s parents, William and Jenny.
Paying tribute to the rower, Mr Stevenson said: “We in the Orange Institution were rightly proud to witness one of our own members excel at the highest level on the world stage. Alan’s heroic feat, coming after a rigorous and demanding training schedule, was an inspiration to all of us.
“Alan is not only a fine ambassador for the Orange Order but also Northern Ireland as a whole.”
The Grand Master also praised the achievements of all nominees at this year’s awards.
The Best New Banner Award went to Drumlough Heroes LOL 153 (Rathfriland) for its unique tribute marking the centenary of the Titanic tragedy. Their new bannerette was painted in honour of a Past Master of the Lodge – Thomas Rowan Morrow – who was the only third class passenger from Ulster to die onboard the doomed vessel in 1912.
All seven short-listed banners were painted by local artist William Magowan, who personally received the Banner Painter Award.