A worshipful master has told how it was the proudest day of his 35 years in the Royal Black when his preceptory unveiled a new banner.
Stephen Richardson was speaking after Dr Cooke Memorial RBP 1138 unfurled a new banner earlier this month.
Fundraising for the new banner was quite a journey – in fact, it was a journey which took the Maghera preceptory to the top of Slieve Gallion.
In an unusual bid to inspire supporters to part with their cash, RBP 1138 decided to carry their old banner in a sponsored hike to the highest peak (1,732ft) in the Sperrins.
The six-mile round trip took place on Saturday, May 25. Eighteen young, and not so young, members of the preceptory took it in turns to help transport their banner to the mountain summit and back down again.
A target had been set of three hours to complete the task – but RBP 1138 crossed the finishing line in two hours, 15 minutes.
They recovered from their exertions thanks to a cooked breakfast donated by a fellow sir knight of the preceptory, Thomas Montgomery.
The mountain challenge clearly paid dividends – on Sunday, August 18, the preceptory’s new banner was officially dedicated at the annual parade and church service of South Londonderry RBDC No 4.
The service was held at St Lurach’s Church of Ireland, Maghera.
The new banner was unfurled by Sir Knight Bert Nelson, the most senior member of RBP 1138 who has been an active member of the preceptory for nearly 65 years.
The banner was then dedicated by Sir Knight Rev Rhys Jones, chaplain of RBP 1138.