A former prison officer who played a key role in initiating new members of the Orange Institution has been publicly recognised by the loyal order.
Sidney McIldoon was the recipient of a special lifetime achievement award at this year’s Orange Community Awards, held in Lisburn on Saturday evening.
The Co Armagh Orangeman was just one of the many individuals, as well as lodges and musicians, to be formally acknowledged at the annual showpiece event for their community work and achievements over the past 12 months.
Mr McIIdoon, from Portadown, served as Grand Lecturer of the Grand Orange Lodge for 16 years, stepping down from the role in 2016.
Congratulating Mr Mclldoon, Grand Master Edward Stevenson, said: “Sidney personifies the many qualities of an Orangeman; being loyal, committed, courteous and honest. By setting such a fine example, both inside and outside the lodge room, he has been a role model to his peers, held in the highest esteem across the Institution.”
He added: “We are also appreciative of Sidney’s long service as a prison officer, in particular during the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s Troubles. Such professionalism and personal commitment to the security forces is to be commended, and typical of Sidney’s character, exemplified throughout his working life as a faithful servant of the Crown.”
Other award winners at ‘The Grands’ included: No Surrender LOL 20 (lodge community involvement); Inch LOL 430 (best new banner); May Dickson (Orangewoman of the year); Samuel Morris (sporting achievement); Hollymount Pipe Band (band of the year); Christopher Cunningham (Christian outreach); Ross Hall (youth development); Leslie Bell (individual community involvement); Cavehill Temperance LOL 1956 (lodge membership increase); Mournes First WLOL 52 (women’s lodge membership increase) and Gary Hull (individual musician’s merit).
Mr Stevenson paid tribute to all the winners and nominees across the categories.
Entertainment at this year’s event included Brunswick Accordion Band, Ravara Pipe Band drum corps, and the Schomberg Society - Kirknarra School of Dance.