Somme commemoration at Garvaghy

Rodney Magennis, David Whiteside, Choir & friends at the Orange Service 2016.
Rodney Magennis, David Whiteside, Choir & friends at the Orange Service 2016.

The Annual Orange Service at Garvaghy Parish Church was held on Sunday 3rd July with around 170 in attendance.

This Orange Service is unique in that it is the only one which is by invitation of the rector and select vestry of the church rather than a particular Lodge requesting the use of a church. The earliest record of this service is from the late 1800s, although it had been in existence prior to that time.

This year, being the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and, in recognition of the men from the parish who gave their lives and those who served in the First World War, it was decided to use the opportunity to mark the anniversary and also to acknowledge the 90th birthday of HM The Queen.

The motto for the day was “100 men for 100 years” and parishioners were delighted to welcome even more than 100 ... in fact the church could not accommodate everyone.

Thankfully the weather was very kind and members of the two bands; Aughnaskeogh Silver and Waringsford Pipe were able to sit outside. The service was conducted by Bro Rodney Magennis and there was special music by The Jubilee Singers, accompanied by Mr David Whiteside. David also contributed to the general praise throughout the service.

An Act of Remembrance was held and a wreath laid by one of the Sunday School Teachers, Warrant Officer Lynn Bulgin, MBE. There was a two minute silence with The Last Post and Reveille played by Mr Derek McNeill.

In keeping with the World War I theme, Brethren on parade wore flat caps or other headgear in keeping with the period. The ladies of the parish dressed in World War I period dress and joined the parade for the final approach to the church.

The church was decorated with red white and blue and orange and blue floral displays, flowers each year are donated by Mr Bobby Lavery, and contained displays of World War I memorabilia and a window dedicated to HM The Queen.

Each person attending received a special bookmark commemorating the service and detailing the names of those from the Parish who served in WW1. The officers and members of Garvaghy LOL No 328 very kindly distributed special commemorative rosettes to all on parade.

Following the service, Brethren and friends enjoyed refreshments before their return parade to Garvaghy Orange Hall. The parish wishes to acknowledge its gratitude to all who attended and all who helped make the day a success.