Local MLA and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster also attended the event which is held annually to showcase the community work undertaken by members of the Orange Institution.
Awards were presented to Orangemen and lodges for their work and the prestigious award for the best new banner of the year went to Magherabeg True Blues LOL 838 from Dromore.
The winning lodge in the category for the biggest percentage increase in membership, sponsored by Victor Stewart Enterprises, was Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001 (Bushmills).
The winning lodge in the category for the largest numerical increase in membership, sponsored by Aubrey Campbell and Company, was Lisburn Ulster Defence Volunteers LOL 1981.
The best charity fundraising lodge, sponsored by Grave Image, Co. Fermanagh, was shared between Maguiresbridge DLOL 14 and Newtownards Ex-servicemen LOL 1952.
Maguiresbridge District LOL No. 14 (County Fermanagh) raised over £2000 for a number of charities, including the Grand Master’s Appeal for Kidney Research, the Headley Court Appeal and the Erne Hospital Patients Welfare Fund.
Newtownards Ex-Servicemen LOL 1952 (County Down) raised £2250 for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice in May 2010. The Lodge undertook an arduous hill climb in the Mourne Mountains from Bloody Bridge, ascending Slieve Donard and ending at Bryansford Country Park, where all lodge members camped overnight.
The winner of the award for individual community involvement, sponsored by Blackslee Tours and Hilda Winter, was:
William Robinson, Ballymacanallen True Blues LOL 2013 (Banbridge)
• Lodge Member for over 50 years and held various offices, Past District Master of Gilford District No. 13
• Founder Member of Tullylish Church of Ireland Men’s Fellowship and current Treasurer, serves on Church Vestry of Tullylish Church of Ireland and has been heavily involved in helping support a church in Croatia
• Involved in Bleary Young Farmers Club for over 50 years and was Past Club Leader and is now a Committee Member
• Received an award from Banbridge District Council for his work in helping migrant workers settle into the local Gilford area by giving them support and help to establish themselves in the community
• On the Board of Directors of TADA, an organisation which provides support for the local rural community
Trevor Alexander Stewart, Rehaghey LOL 857 (Tyrone)
• Lodge Member for 33 years and is a Past Secretary
• Founded the “Friends of Schomberg” charity fundraising group six years ago, raising thousands of pounds for various charities
• His most recent venture raised over £2100 for ‘Help for Heroes’
The award for lodge community involvement, sponsored by NC Engineering and Oval James Insurance, was won by:
Killycurragh LOL 200, (Omagh)
• Formed a community group in 1995 to represent the views of the local minority Protestant people in their area which aimed to provide social, recreational and educational help for people of all ages. From these efforts, a Youth Club, Parent and Toddler Group, Women’s Group, Senior Citizens Club and an Indoor Football Club were all formed. All of these groups have continued to flourish over the last 15 years and today there are over 200 people using the Orange Hall on a weekly basis.
Raphoe Crimson Defenders LOL 1921, (Donegal)
• Allowed the local Raphoe Central National School which teaches children of all faiths, to use their hall as a classroom for a period of 10 months while building work was being done to the school. The lodge members facilitated this and were on hand to open and close the hall for the pupils, ensure the building was warm and clean, even going so far as to clear away the snow from the building to ensure the pupils could get to the hall safely in the bad weather.
The Special Merit Award, sponsored by SD Kells and John Bush System, was shared by three people.
Gareth Long, Greyabbey LOL 1592
• Lodge Member for approx 14 years and a Past Master
• Nominated for his work in setting up a charity called the Helping Alopecia Trust (HAT) after having a family member diagnosed with the condition
• Organises fundraising events for the charity including running the Belfast Marathon himself, he is Chairman of the Committee and organises events to bring people living with alopecia together
Barrett Rennick, Ballindarragh LOL 689 (Fermanagh)
• Lodge Member for 33 years and has held various offices, currently District Secretary since 2000
• Founder member and Treasurer of Lisbellaw Credit Union, Treasurer and member of the Select Vestry of Derrybrusk Parish Church and member of the management committee of Ballindarragh Union Hall, committee member of the South East Fermanagh Foundation
• Founder member of the Friends of Drumack Society and Drumack Historical Association, had been a member of the Ulster Special Constabulary Association for approx 16 years and serves as their Secretary, he is also Chairperson of the recently established Phoenix Group
• Trained as a tutor and delivered the ‘Educating Ourselves Programme’ in County Fermanagh along with three others to approx 175 people, teaching the participants about the history and traditions of the Orange Institution
William Murdie, (Belfast)
Sir Robert H.H. Baird Memorial Temperance LOL 1045
• Lodge Member for 71 years and has held various offices
• He is a member of North Belfast Working Men’s Club, Bowling Club Member and Honorary Treasurer to the Board of Trustees, President of the North Belfast Working Men’s Club Pipe Band, member of Duncairn Nomads Running Club, member of Donaghadee Probus Club involved in charity work
• He is heavily involved in his local church, Donaghadee Parish, was Rectors Warden, Church Reader, served in the Choir, and was an active member in his previous Parish where he ran Badminton clubs, and the Young Men’s Institute to name but a few.
The Chaplain’s Award, for Christian witness in the community, sponsored by Nelson-Singleton Solicitors, was won by:
Philip Agnew, Duke of Schomberg LOL 486 (Belfast)
• Lodge Member for 15 years and Deputy Master
• Full-time volunteer for the worldwide ‘Child Evangelism Fellowship Organisation’ along with his wife, bringing the gospel to children throughout the world. Both Philip and his wife Rachael have been involved in church work in Newtownabbey for many years
• Boy’s Brigade Officer, Sunday School Superintendent, Youth Leader, organises Christian summer schools and camps for young people during the school holidays
William Chambers, Ballyvea LOL 343a (Co. Down).
• Lodge Member for 65 years and has been Chaplain for 36 years
• William started up prayer meetings in the Orange Hall in 1957 and has attended these meetings faithfully for 53 years, he also conducted prayer meetings in Bingian Hall every Monday for 42 years
The Orange Standard award, sponsored by the Orange Order’s newspaper, was won by John Kelly (Lisburn) who has been a great asset to the paper, providing photographs from the many events which he attends. His photographic work is of excellent quality and has brought many events to the attention of readers that might otherwise not be known about.
The best new banner, sponsored by Joseph Long and Sons, Newtownards, was
Magherabeg True Blues LOL 838 (Co. Down), painted by William Magowan.
The design concept of the steam train came from a desire by the members to create something different while still connecting with the local community in Magherabeg. The Orange Hall was built in 1902 on land given by the Railway Company. The Belfast-Dublin railway ran immediately behind the hall and the Magherabeg halt was on the other side of the bridge from the hall. The last train ran in1965 before the line closed and several of the members worked on the railway. On the other side of the banner the painting depicts the Angel commanding the prophet Elijah to 'Arise and Eat'. Elijah had become disillusioned with the world and was despondent. The Lord delivered Elijah back to become a leader again. This religious theme has been on every banner of LOL 838 in living memory.
The award for the best banner painter went to William Magowan, Garvagh.
A Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Henry Latimer Trailers, went to
Rev. Dr Victor H. Ryan from Belfast.
Rev. Dr. Victor Ryan has given dedicated and committed service to the Orange Institution in Belfast County and at Grand Lodge level. He became a Grand Chaplain in 1998, serving with dedication in this post until he relinquished the office at the January meeting of Grand Lodge in 2011. He was appointed as Imperial Chaplain in 1994. A County Grand Chaplain of Belfast, Rev. Dr. Ryan is a familiar figure within Orangeism far and wide, and his inspirational services at the Imperial Council have given much sense of purpose for those attending. He is also a renowned speaker at Orange services. Following his decision to stand down from office in January it was felt that his service should be acknowledged in this first Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the Orange Community Awards.
The Grand Master’s Achievement Award, sponsored by Pennon Plaques, and chosen personally by the Grand Master is presented to an individual who merits recognition for their work either relating to the Institution or the wider community.
Hugh Bell, from Donaghadee, has been an active member of the Institution for over 50 years and is recognised for his efforts on behalf of Action Cancer. After having a voice box operation due to throat cancer, Hugh has been actively involved in seeking to assist research towards the prevention of cancer. He started the Wee Walk from Groomsport to Donaghadee, with a small number of friends, and now has hundreds of people taking part each year. Hugh has inspired others in Donaghadee to raise a cumulative total of £450,000 since 1994 for Cancer Research.
The award was presented by the Immediate Past Grand Master, Robert Saulters.
The large crowd was entertained by Enniskillen Pipe Band, Brookeborough Flute Band, Maguiresbridge Highland Dancers, Maguiresbridge Male Voice Choir, Joe Graham and Churchill Silver Band.