Orangemen, women, lodges and bands from across Northern Ireland were recognised for their excellence at the recent Orange Community Awards.
The annual event, held last weekend in Lisburn, showcased the community work and achievements of individuals and groups within the Orange fraternity over the past year.
Among the winners at ‘The Grands’ was inspirational Orangeman Peter Branker, recipient of the individual community involvement award. Having successfully survived cancer on two occasions, the Dromore man has dedicated himself to volunteering work for various charities and community groups, raising thousands of pounds for good causes.
Aughnahoory Heroes LOL 343B, claimed the coveted best new banner award. The Kilkeel lodge’s impressive banner is a tribute to local World War One hero, Robert Hill Hanna. The Mourne native, and Orangeman, received the Victoria Cross for his gallantry as a soldier with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during battle at Lens, France, in 1917.
Alicia Dickson-Hamilton was the recipient of the inaugural Orangewoman of the year award. The Co Down woman is well-known in pipe band circles, competing at a high level and winning numerous awards, including the senior world champion drum major title in 2011. Mrs Dickson-Hamilton is also heavily involved in volunteering with a number of groups in ther local community.
Other award recipients were Garvaghy LOL 328 (lodge community involvement); Nico Mawhinney (sporting achievement); Gertrude Street Defenders LOL 525 (lodge membership increase); Colin Tinsley (Christian outreach); Joseph Magill (youth development); and Ravara Pipe Band (band of the year).
Kilbracks Junior LOL 75 and Lisbellaw True Blues LOL 315 received commendations in the youth development and lodge membership increase categories respectively.
Meanwhile, Fermanagh businessman Roy Kells, 81, was recognised with a special lifetime achievement award.
Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423 received the Grand Master’s Award in recognition of their charitable outreach – raising in excess of £170,000 through their intrepid fundraising activities.
Grand Master Edward Stevenson congratulated all award recipients and those shortlisted in the various categories.
He said: “All of you are worthy winners in your own right and are role models for the entire Orange family and bands community.”