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Institution recognises inspirational charity work at Orange Awards

An Orangeman who has worked tirelessly helping to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for children’s cancer charities has been recognised by the Orange Institution.

David Watson, from Banbridge, was the recipient of the Grand Master’s Award as the Orange Community Awards returned to Lisburn’s Lagan Valley Island Art’s Centre on Saturday evening for the first time since 2020.

Grand Master Edward Stevenson presents the Grand Master’s Award to Bro. David Watson and his wife, Sara.

David has been involved in significant fundraising work for a range of charitable causes with his lodge – Banbridge Bible and Crown LOL 423 - for many years. However when his son, Adam, was diagnosed with Leukaemia, David and his wife, Sara, began fundraising supported by family and friends – who became known as ‘Adam’s Army’ – for children’s cancer charities.

Sadly, Adam passed away in August 2022 aged just nine years old. However, the Watsons continued their fundraising work in the knowledge that Adam’s Army and the B-Positive campaign that Adam inspired had galvanised a whole community.

The Deputy Grand Master Wor. Bro. Harold Henning paid tribute to David Watson, and emphasised that the recognition was shared with Sara.

“It is impossible not to be deeply touched by the story of the Watson family,” he said. “While I present this award to David as a member of our Institution, we recognize that it equally in recognition of Sara and the entire circle of family and friends for all their work.

“Despite their personal grief and trauma, the Watsons displayed outstanding grace, generosity and commitment; working tirelessly to raise money for children’s cancer charities in the name of their son, Adam.

“I also note the help and support that the Watson family has received from members of the Orange Institution and their wide circle of family and friends – they are Adam’s Army. We here tonight are a family – the Orange Family – and to see the efforts of so many in support of the B-Positive Charity is truly inspirational.”

This year, an award of Special Commendation was presented to the ‘Hiking for Little Heroes’ group who raised more than £280,000 for children’s charities by climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Other winners on the night included Glenanne Crown Prince LOL 133, who claimed the lodge community involvement award. The lodge, from Markethill District LOL No. 10, has over recent years developed an area known as ‘the Glen’ and transformed it into a community space for all.

The highly competitive best new banner award went to Aughnacloy Rising Sons of William LOL 156. The lodge’s new banner displays a scene set in a bygone age where the brethren of the lodge are preparing to travel to the Clogher Valley Twelfth of July demonstration by way of the CVR Steam locomotive.

Commonwealth Games gold medal winning bowler Bro. Sam Barkley, St Patrick’s Temperance LOL 1123, was awarded the Sporting Achievement Award 2023.

The Inspirational Orangewoman of the Year award went to Sister Phyllis Galloway, of Sister Turtle Memorial WLOL 14, Ballymena, who has been a member of the Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland for 75 years.

The Christian Outreach Award was presented to Bro. Joseph Kennoway, Hillstown LOL 176.

Meanwhile, Glenageeragh Pipe Band struck the right note with the judges by winning the band of the year award.

The Grand Master Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson paid tribute to the winners and nominees in each of the respective categories.

He said: “I would like to personally congratulate each and every one of the winners for being standard bearers for the Institution, as well as in their own communities.”

List of Award winners:

Band of the Year Award 2023

Glenageeragh Pipe Band

Best New Banner Award 2023

Aughnacloy Rising Sons of William LOL 156

Sporting Achievement Award 2023

Brother Sam Barkley - St. Patrick's Church Temperance LOL 1123

Outstanding Community Service Award 2023

Glenanne Crown Prince LOL 133

Lodge Membership Numerical Increase Award 2023

Invincible True Blues LOL 735

Lodge Membership Percentage Increase Award 2023

Doagh Road True Blues LOL 1871

Christian Outreach Award 2023

Brother Joseph Kennoway - Hillstown LOL 176

Junior Grand Lodge Award 2023

Royal Hillsborough JLOL 55

Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland – Inspirational Orangewoman of the Year Award 2023

Sister Phyllis Galloway - Sister Turtle Memorial, WLOL14 

Association of Loyal Orangewomen of Ireland – Lodge Membership Increase Award 2023

North East WLOL 65

Grand Master’s Award 2023

Worshipful Brother David Watson - Banbridge Bible & Crown Defenders LOL 423

Special Commendation Award 2023

Hiking for Little Heroes


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