Dawson Bailie, former Orange Order leader, ‘a true Ulsterman’

Dawson Bailie was a reluctant county grand master, Rev Mervyn Gibson told his funeral
Dawson Bailie was a reluctant county grand master, Rev Mervyn Gibson told his funeral
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Mourners at the funeral of senior Orangeman Dawson Bailie heard of his love and commitment to his family, his church, his country and the Orange Institution.

The former county grand master of Belfast, Bro Dawson Bailie, passed away at home on Saturday, August 3 at the age of 81.

He was described as a “a true Ulsterman, a faithful Orangeman” and someone who “led from the front” in a funeral address delivered by Rev Mervyn Gibson at Kilcooley Presbyterian Church in Bangor yesterday.

The service was an Orange funeral and the brethren attending wore appropriate regalia.

“We gather in this church today with Dawson’s family, members of this congregation, leaders of unionism; leaders of the Orange family from Grand Orange Lodges of Ireland, and Scotland and Imperial Orange Council, members of the loyal orders, brethren; sisters; sir knights, ABOD, band members, community groups, political parties, and social clubs,” Rev Gibson said.

“We come from near and far – from all walks of life and from all faiths and none. We come to share the sorrow and sadness at Dawson’s passing.”

Rev Gibson spoke of his “love and commitment to his family” and described how, even into his 80s, he would drive into Donaghadee each morning to ensure his grandchildren didn’t miss the school bus.

He continued: “Dawson was from an Orange family and so it was no surprise that he joined the Junior Institution at six-years-old – McComb Memorial.

“He served as county master for 10 years from 2000 to 2009, finally accepting the office after much persuasion by his predecessor and grand master at the time, Bobby Saulters.

“He also served as Grand Orange Lodge Inside Tyler for several years and regularly attended the Imperial Orange Council.”

Rev Gibson added: “He was a member of the Royal Black Institution and the Apprentice Boys of Derry.

“Dawson was an active member of the Ulster Unionist Party for many years and while he saw the logic for the separation from the Orange Institution, it pained him.

“Dawson hated to see unionist squabbling with unionist and, as many of the politicians here could tell you, he told them what he thought. Dawson’s unionism was simple, support for the monarchy and a strong United Kingdom. He didn’t see the need to overcomplicate it.

“We, the Orange family, lay to rest a true Ulsterman, a faithful Orangeman, someone who led from the front, someone who never sought leadership, but accepted it when called upon to do so.”