'˜I take great pride in putting on the sash that my father wore'

When it comes to Orange marches Derek McDowell tries to divide his time between making music and keeping in step.

Wednesday, 11th July 2018, 9:29 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th July 2018, 6:45 pm
Three Generations of the McDowell family from Drumlough, Rathfriland, including Grandfather Hugh, Past Master, Son Derek, Past Master and Grandsons Jonathan and Jordan, who have between them, a total of 84 years of membership of Drumlough Heroes LOL 153 and Alexander Brown Memorial, Drumlough Junior LOL 210. © Photo: Gary Gardiner. Three Generations of the McDowell family from Drumlough, Rathfriland, including Grandfather Hugh, Son Derek and Grandsons Jonathan and Jordan, have a proud history of 84 Years of membership between them of Drumlough Heroes LOL 153 and

As a member of Drumlough LOL 153 and Drumlough Pipe Band it means he does not always get the chance to wear a sash during parades.

However, the 41-year-old said he looks forward to those special occasions when he is able to put on a vintage garment that is considered a family heirloom.

Derek, who recently stepped down as the lodge’s worshipful master, said: “I’m in the local pipe band, so a lot of days when our lodge is out our band is out as well.

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Worshipful Bro. Derek McDowell, then Worshipful Master of Drumlough Heroes LOL No.153, holds aloft the 2012 Best New Banner Award, presented by Right Worshipful Bro. Edward Stevenson, Sovereign Grandmaster, Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, for the depiction on a new Bannerette of Past Master Bro.Thomas Rowan Morrow, who lost his life during the sinking of RMS Titanic, on 15th April 1912. The award was presented during the annual Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland Orange Community Awards. © Photo: Gary Gardiner.

“There wouldn’t be that many times when I get to walk with the lodge. But when I am marching, and when my father isn’t out, I would take his old sash for the simple reason that there’s a wee bit of history behind it rather than getting the new one.

“It’s the sash worn by my father and which was his father’s sash before him.

“That sash has been passed down through the years and will likely make it to another generation.”

Of the garment he said: “They are a sort of thing that never gets thrown out.

“You just keep wearing a sash until its not able to be worn. In which case it may end up in a glass cabinet as an ornament.”

Derek’s 70-year-old father Hugh still takes part in some Orange marches, as do his two boys – Jonathan and Jordan.

He continued: “My eldest son Jonathan is 18, he’s in the senior lodge. My other fella Jordan is 12, he’s in the junior lodge. My father would take part in as many marches as he can. It’s nice when all of us are out together.

“We have a very, very good lodge in that we do a lot of social events. We’ll have upwards of 1,000 for a barbecue at the end of July.”

He said: “I suppose one of the main reasons that would keep me in the Orange is the fact that I’m a Christian along with the good old meeting friends and social aspect of it.

“I meet friends on the Twelfth and don’t see them until next year. That’s just the way it is.”

Drumlough Orange Hall is located beside the farm on which Thomas Rowan Morrow – an Orangeman who died on the Titanic – was born.

Derek said: “We have a bannerette dedicated to him. It won banner of the year on the centenary of the Titanic.”