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King George VI Memorial
LOL 1973

A District of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland

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New bannerette dedicated at Craigantlet

King George VI Memorial unfurled their new lodge bannerette at their annual service on Sunday past.

With a dedication from Pastor Roy Graham and the unveiling carried out by long time friends of the lodge Ellie and Jean Henderson, the new bannerette was carried over the hills of Craigantlet for the first time following the service.

The bannerette features a portrait of our last King, George VI while the reverse image displays the nearby Helen's Tower with poppies. Another excellent piece of work produced by Bro Stephen Rodgers.

Lodge History

LOL 1973 were formed in the town land of Craigantlet in 1952, as an offshoot from another nearby Lodge in Ballykeel. We are the youngest Lodge in Newtownards District and the only one to meet outside of the town itself. We hold our meetings in our own hall on a monthly basis.

Craigantlet Orange Hall is situated in a central location between Holywood, Bangor, Dundonald and Newtownards, high up in the Holywood hills in a beautiful part of County Down. The ground that the hall was built on was kindly donated by the Boyd family and the Orange Hall was opened in 1960. Today the hall is not only used by the Lodge but also lends itself to the local community in many ways, and is currently the base for the local Crossroads Church.

Craigantlet Orange Hall

The collarettes worn by the Lodge are distinct in colour from the vast majority of other Lodges in that they are royal blue. The present members are unsure of why this is, although a popular tale is that when the Lodge asked permission to name the Lodge in memory of King George VI, his wife, the Queen Mother requested that the collarettes the Lodge wore were coloured blue.

The current Lodge banner was unfurled in 1988 and this honour was performed by Mrs Annie Craig, wife of a highly respected founder member, Bro. William Craig.


LOL 1973's banner

our royal blue collarettes

The Lodge membership traditionally came from the local farming area, though today our members come mainly from the surrounding towns. However the local community still plays a vital part in supporting the Lodge in the many fundraising events held throughout the year which are so important for the upkeep of the hall. In the past few years the Lodge has begun a new tradition of hosting an Eleventh Night bonfire and barbecue, opening up the hall to the community again and providing a safe backdrop to the pre-twelfth event.

On Father's Day in June of each year, we hold our traditional Sunday parade and church service. As has been done for many years, a parade forms up at the 'Craigantlet Cottages' and makes its way to the Orange Hall where we hold a religious service. This service is usually well supported by both the community and brethren from the other Newtownards Lodges.

the Lodge at the unfurling of our last banner in 1988

LOL 1973 visit the birthplace of Orangeism

On Saturday 18th June King George VI Memorial LOL 1973 organised their annual outing, which this year saw members and friends visit the new Museum of Orange Heritage in Loughgall as well as the nearby Dan Winter's Cottage, both sites closely linked with the creation of the Orange Institution.

An enjoyable and informative day was had by all, which culminated with a meal at La Mon Hotel.

Successful Installation night

Members and guests were present in Craigantlet Orange Hall as the new lodge officers for 2015 were installed on Monday 19th January. With visiting officers present from the District Lodge, brethren and friends of the lodge enjoyed supper and entertainment after the meeting, as well as words from guest speaker Rev Bro Ron Johnston.

12th July 2015

Informative talks at Craigantlet

The latest Twelfth Festival event saw three very informative lectures given at Craigantlet Orange Hall on Wednesday evening. Bro Jack Greenald spoke to the audience on the exodus of Orangemen to the Battle of the Somme in 1919 and the sacrifices made by many.

Good Relations Officer Jim Murdock spoke on his role with Ards Council and the community groups and projects that it brings him into contact with, including our own Twelfth festival this year.

Local school teacher Peter Forbes concluded the evening with tales of Blair Paddy Mayne and the SAS campaign during WWII, displaying a number of artifacts, including his copy of the SAS War Diary.

Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

2012 marked the 60th year in existence of King George VI Memorial LOL 1973 and in early November members gathered with visiting brethren and friends to mark the anniversary.

At an evening of celebration in Craigantlet Orange Hall, those present heard from the Orange Institution historian Bro. David Cargo about the early days of Orangeism in Craigantlet and how the founder members of 'the lodge on the hill' set a firm basis for a lodge to still be in existence today.

Read more and see pictures from the evening here

The opening of Craigantlet Orange Hall

LOL 1973 has recently been given two fantastic photographs relating to the opening of the Orange Hall at Craigantlet. The first is a copy of a newspaper report on the official opening, which took place on Saturday 4th June 1960. The opening ceremony was preceded by a parade in the area that featured bands and lambeg drums.

The opening of the hall was carried out by Mrs W.M. May, wife of the then Minister of Education in the presence of her husband and District Officers from Newtownards.

The second photo shows lodge members and volunteers involved in the construction of the hall posing during a break in their shift. The land that the hall is built on was kindly donated to the lodge by the Boyd family, who owned the neighbouring quarry and the hall was constructed for the sum of 6000.

The picture dates from around 1959 and those featured are as follows: back row - Bobby Gray, Neville Henderson, Johnny Herriot, Eric Henderson, George Henderson, Billy Craig, Eddie Gray, unknown, Tommy Brown. Front row - unknown, Geordie Nicholl, Alec McEneny, Billy Andrews, Willie Hansell, (boy) Tom Brown's son.

2011 Installation of Officers

The officers and members of LOL 1973 along with their guests at the 2011 Installation of Officers dinner. Special guest for the evening was Strangford MP Jim Jim Shannon, seated front, second right.

Grand Secretary visits Craigantlet

LOL 1973 were honoured to have Bro. Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge as guest speaker at the 2010 Installation of Officers meeting.

Bro. Nelson spoke with the assembled audience of Orangemen and friends on the importance of protecting our Protestant identity.

The installation meeting was carried off in its usual format, with supper and toasts, prior to the main speech from the Grand Secretary. LOL 1973's Worshipful Master David Mateer thanked Bro Nelson for his attendance and sent him home with a small gift from the members of the Lodge.

Donations near and far from Craigantlet

In recent months LOL 1973, sitting in Craigantlet, have been keen to show off the Order's charitable side, by donating to both local and international charities. The offering from the Lodge's annual church service this year found its way to Holywood, where it will help young Carter Buchanan, in need of a life-changing operation in the United States. For more information see www.cartersjourneyofhope.com 

Further afield, an effort from the Lodge members themselves saw two containers filled with school supplies shipped to Malawi, where classroom items are desperately needed. This simple donation was part of a larger province-wide operation, organised by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to bring educational and medical supplies to the southern-African country, often blighted by poverty and disease. For more information see www.containersformalawi.org 

WM of LOL 1973 Bro David Mateer presents a 300 donation to
Robert Carter to help send his young to America for treatment.
Looking on is Deputy Grand Master Bro David Cargo

Newtownards District officers Colin Campbell and Mark
McIlroy help David Mateer and Eric Thompson of LOL 1973
prepare containers of school equipment for dispatch to Malawi

1973 at Schomberg House

Members of LOL 1973, along with District Officers (and Diamond
Dan) at the June Lodge meeting held in Schomberg House

June 2008 saw LOL 1973 depart from their usual Craigantlet meeting place to Schomberg House in Belfast, to hold a meeting at the headquarters of the Orange Institution.

The Lodge was warmly welcomed by the Director of Services, Dr David Hume, who spoke at length on the range of issues facing the Order in today's world. The members were able to enjoy the exhibitions and artifacts on display and purchase from the Schomberg shop, while being well catered for by the staff.

1973 Celebrates Its Two Past Masters

At LOL 1973's March 2008 meeting, District Master Colin Campbell was in attendance to present certificates to two Past Masters.  Bro Ken Black held the office of Worshipful Master for the past two years, leaving office in January. Bro Mervyn McGimpsey has been a member of the Lodge for only two years, having transferred over when his previous Lodge, LOL 991 folded. Bro McGimpsey spent ten years as WM of his last Lodge and was honoured to receive a Past Master's certificate and Jewel from the members of his new Lodge.

Boyne Battle Site Trip

Early on a Saturday morning in June 2007 a party of thirty, comprising members of LOL 1973 along with friends and members from the local Craigantlet community set off for the famous Battle of the Boyne site, near Drogheda.

The journey across the border marked the Lodge's first cultural trip, to what is a fast-growing tourist attraction in the Republic. Following a morning stop in Dundalk and lunch in Drogheda, the afternoon rain welcomed us to the Boyne site at Oldbridge Estate. Joining other visitors, including some from North America, we enjoyed a thorough and well-researched description of the battle from one of the local tour guides.

Re-constructed cannons and other weaponry were on display as well as genuine artifacts from the Battle itself. An obligatory walk across the Boyne river via the footbridge was also taken by some members prior to starting the journey home.

11th Night Bonfire 2007

Craigantlet Orange Hall hosted the annual 11th night bonfire and barbecue again this year and welcomed over one hundred people through its doors. The community event attracted folks from the local cottages and supporters from Newtownards and Holywood keen to enjoy the traditional festivities in a safe and friendly environment.

The young enjoyed the bouncy castle, while a barn dance had the floor filled for most of the evening. The hard-working chefs were kept busy all night tending the barbecue, while lambeg drumming accompanied the lighting of the bonfire later in the evening. All agreed that another successful night was had and that the event was gaining in momentum each year.

12th July 2007

the new Lodge tie, worn for the first time

2007 Installation Dinner

The Lodge's 2007 Installation of Officers dinner went off traditionally well and attracted the usual mix of visiting District Officers and members from neighbouring Lodges. The evening concluded with a very different display and presentation, focused on the 1916 Battle of the Somme.

Trench Line Lectures, fronted by Bro Billy Thompson and our own Bro Andrew Harris, both in full military dress, saw the captive audience treated to an informative talk on the daily lives of the Ulster men who fought at the Somme and shown authentic pieces of kit and weaponry used during the battle.

Alongside the lecture was a display of certain war-time artifacts, which the audience were able to inspect and examine, with a number commenting that they had seen similar items in the homes of older relatives.

Bros Thompson and Harris displayed an obvious knowledge of the subject, which is no surprise given the frequency of requests they receive to put on their display. Those in attendance at Craigantlet Orange Hall were all in agreement that they had enjoyed a very topical and interesting lecture.

12th July 2006

LOL 1973 and LOL 991 before the parade move-off

2006 Annual Service

The Lodge's annual divine service was held on Sunday 18th June and the offering was donated to the Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

Bro Ken Black of LOL 1973 donates the 250 collected at the annual
service to Margaret and Suzanne Mateer. Looking on are District
Officers and the Rev Tom Reid

50th Anniversary Dinner

Lodge members, supporters, friends and invited guests gathered on Wednesday 4th December 2002 at Romas Restaurant in Newtownards to celebrate the Lodge's 50th year at our Golden Jubilee dinner.

The Worshipful Master Andrew McCullough helps Bro Jack Thompson and Mrs Annie Craig cut the anniversary cake

Sixty members and friends enjoyed an excellent meal and the hospitality of Romas and heard many tributes paid to the Lodge by the Worshipful District Master Bro Billy McIlroy, Deputy County Master Bro Victor Harrison and Imperial Grand Secretary Bro John McCrea. Guest speaker Bro David Cargo took the audience on a short historical journey through the first 50 years of LOL 1973.

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