A lodge from Banbridge renowned for its charitable benevolence and a community worker from Kinallen were among the winners at this year’s Orange Community Awards.
Several local lodges and individuals were recognised for their community and charity work at the Orange Institution’s annual showpiece event, held in Lisburn on Friday evening.
Members of Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423, from Banbridge, received the Grand Master’s Award in recognition of their charity endeavours, raising almost £170,000 for a number of worthy causes in recent years.
LOL 423 has a distinguished track record of fundraising, having previously aided Help for Heroes by walking the Williamite trail from Carrickfergus to the Boyne. This preceded a mammoth cycle the length of the British Isles from John O’Groats to Lands End. And last year brethren raised over £38,000 for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice by climbing four UK peaks in four days – accompanied by a Lambeg drum.
Alicia Dickson-Hamilton, who last year was awarded the British Empire Medal, was presented with the inaugural Inspirational Orangewoman of the Year Award for services to Star of Dromore WLOL 66 and the local community.
The Kinallen woman is well-known in pipe band circles, competing at a high level and winning many awards, including the Senior World Champion drum major title in 2011.
Mrs Dickson-Hamilton is also heavily involved in community work with a number of organisations including Corbet Accordion Band, First Dromara Girls’ Brigade and Kinallen Rural Community Development Association.
Other local winners on the night included:
• Dromore-based Garvaghy LOL 328 were the recipients of the Lodge Community Involvement Award.
Lodge members took on a major redevelopment project, ensuring their hall was fit for purpose and accessible to the wider community.
• Peter Branker, Ballymacormack Purple Star LOL 793, Dromore, was the recipient of the Individual Community Involvement Award.
Having successfully fought cancer on two occasions, Peter has dedicated himself volunteering for various charities and community groups, raising thousands of pounds for good causes.
• Joseph Magill, Lisnamulligan Purple Heroes LOL 436, Rathfriland, picked up the Youth Development Award.
The Co Down man has played a pivotal role supporting junior lodges in his locality, working with young people to advance their personal development.
Meanwhile, retail entrepreneur Roy Kells MBE, owner of the SD Kells store in Banbridge, was the recipient of a special lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the economy across Northern Ireland.
Commenting on his personal award to LOL 423, Grand Master Edward Stevenson said: “The Institution and its membership is renowned for its selflessness and generosity when it comes to charitable outreach. These Banbridge brethren are outstanding trailblazers in this regard, with their intrepid and innovative means of raising much needed funds for a variety of worthwhile causes.
“I applaud their initiative, endeavour and generosity – making them worthy winners and the first-ever lodge to receive the Grand Master’s Award.”
Entertainment at this year’s event, held at Lisburn’s Island Arts Centre, included a drum majors’ display and performances by Markethill Ulster Scots Highland Dancers, Ballinran Melody Flute Band and Maguiresbridge Silver Band.