Lodge Life: ‘Standard bearers’ of Orangeism recognised
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’ were Banbridge lodge, No Surrender LOL 20, who claimed the lodge community involvement award. Last year, members raised £21,000 for charity after participating in a 130km walk of remembrance on the Western Front. Seventeen participants symbolically made the journey from the Thiepval Memorial in France to the Menin Gate in Belgium in four days, marking the sacrifice of those who served during the Great War.
One of the oldest Orange lodges in Ireland received the highly competitive best new banner award. Inch LOL 430, formed in 1797, won the prize for its detailed banner showcasing the lodge’s distinguished history, including the depiction of an Orange flag with the portrait of a former member, Major Robert Perceval Maxwell. The lodge’s proud military heritage is also reflected on the banner with imagery relating to the Battle of the Somme.
May Dickson was the recipient of the Orangewoman of the year award in recognition of her work in the local community.
The sporting achievement award went to Samuel Morris, from Kilkeel, for his achievements on the hockey field.
Hollymount Pipe Band, Downpatrick, struck the right note with the judges by winning the band of the year award.
Meanwhile, Sidney McIldoon, a former prison officer, who played a key role in initiating new members of the Orange Institution, was the recipient of special lifetime achievement award.
The award, presented by Grand Master Edward Stevenson, was recognition for the Portadown Orangeman who served as grand lecturer of the Grand Orange Lodge for 16 years.
Mr Stevenson paid tribute to the winners and nominees in all of the respective categories.
He said: “I would like to personally congratulate each and every one of them for being standard bearers for the institution, as well as in their own communities.”