Lodge Life: Gala dinner tribute to late grand secretary Drew Nelson

Janet Nelson, with a portrait of her late brother-in-law, at the black tie gala dinner at Corick House
Janet Nelson, with a portrait of her late brother-in-law, at the black tie gala dinner at Corick House

Family, friends and peers of the late Drew Nelson gathered for a gala dinner last weekend as the Orange Institution formally announced plans to honour its former grand secretary.

The loyal order is planning to create a new student centre in Belfast as part of a £1 million initiative in memory of the senior Orangeman and Dromore solicitor, who died last year.

Senior Orangemen at the launch  (from left) Stuart Brooker, assistant grand master; Rev Mervyn Gibson, grand secretary; Edward Stevenson, grand master; Harold Henning, deputy grand master; and Lewis Singleton, assistant grand master

Senior Orangemen at the launch (from left) Stuart Brooker, assistant grand master; Rev Mervyn Gibson, grand secretary; Edward Stevenson, grand master; Harold Henning, deputy grand master; and Lewis Singleton, assistant grand master

As part of the Drew Nelson Legacy Project, the institution intends to majorly expand its current student provision, providing meeting space and accommodation for student members. It is also envisaged a designated development officer will provide career advice and guidance to young people across Northern Ireland and the border counties.

Speaking at the black tie event at Corick House, Co Tyrone, Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: “Empowering young people was a key aspect of Drew Nelson’s work within our wider Orange family. He continually reinforced the importance of encouraging young people by building capacity and creating an enthusiastic, motivated and confident core of Orange advocates and community leaders.”

For more details on how to donate to the Drew Nelson Legacy Project, contact Schomberg House on 028 9070 1122 or email legacy@goli.org.uk.

Grand Lodge chief executive, Iain Carlisle, with wife Laura

Grand Lodge chief executive, Iain Carlisle, with wife Laura

From left,  David and Sara Watson with Sharon and Chris Irwin at the event

From left, David and Sara Watson with Sharon and Chris Irwin at the event

Gary Wilson was master of ceremonies at the gala dinner

Gary Wilson was master of ceremonies at the gala dinner