The Chaplain of the Portadown No 1 Orange District Cecil Allen has received the accolade as the top Chaplain within the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.
Mr Cecil Allen has been Portadown Chaplain for seven years, his main public profile being connected with Drumcree, where he conducts a short religious service on Sundays as the District resolves mounts a weekly protest in its bid to find a solution to the return march to Carleton Street Orange Hall.
But there is more to his post than that, with Mr Allen conducting various religious service for the District and being spiritual adviser and confidante for the District, as well as conducting the opening prayers of the various meetings.
He is a member of Kilmoriarty LOL 31 at Loughgall Road, having joined in 1972. “My father (the late Arthur Allen) was a member of Kilmoriarty and I used to drive him to the meetings and functions there,” Cecil recalled. “So I thought I might as well join and save myself the double journey.”
People will remember Arthur Allen as the man who drove the lorry for Hamilton Robb’s linen firm at Goban Street in Edenderry for many years.
Cecil is committed to the District’s call for talks with the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition without pre-conditions “and we will continue to work responsibly for that”.
He misses the occasional Sunday at Drumcree when duty calls in his role as lay preacher within the Church of Ireland. He is a dedicated member of St Columba’s Parish Church, a former vestry member, joining early in its history when it was formed in 1981. He and his late wife Anne joined a few months after Rev Herbert Cassidy started the church.
“I’ve very pleased to receive the award,” he said. “It was totally unexpected and the District officers are very pleased for me.”