With a combined age of 55, the young leadership team of a Scarva preceptory are looking to the Institution’s future with much optimism.
Craig Adair, 32, and Andrew Boyce, 23, are the current worshipful master and deputy master of Sir Knight Alfred Buller Memorial RBP 1000.
As well as playing an integral part in the workings of the preceptory and chairing monthly meetings, both men are also intimately involved in organising the largest annual one-day event in Northern Ireland – the famous Scarva Sham Fight. The pair of Sir Knights enjoyed their first mock battle between King William and King James, in their respective roles, during the summer.
Craig, from Richhill, admits the Scarva showpiece is a particular personal highlight, having assumed such office.
He said: “I enjoy the interaction and opportunity to meet other people. We were fortunate to have been invited by the outgoing Lord Mayor to launch the Thirteenth, and promote our official charity. It is very rewarding to walk in front of the banner at Scarva, after months of planning, seeing all the spectators and Sir Knights enjoying themselves, with preferably nice weather!”
The project coordinator, who only recently got married, acknowledges the extra responsibility of preparing for one of the flagship events of the parading season.
“There’s a lot of meetings! We liaise with various stakeholders in order to make the day possible, which means a lot of evenings are taken up, especially the closer we get to July. I must admit, I didn't appreciate the work that goes into organising the event until I was elected into office.
“The deputy master and I are only two cogs of the wheel though, as there is a dedicated team who work tirelessly, giving up their time without any hesitation to put on the best parade of the year.
“However, when you hit the Demesne, and see the tens of thousands of people enjoying themselves, it makes it all worth it.”
Craig maintains he and Andrew have a close bond, having a shared interest in sport, and more importantly both “wanting the best for the preceptory”.
As for their partnership demystifying the perception that the Royal Black is an “older man’s” organisation, Craig retorts: “Yes, I would say so. I know many of my friends are all active members throughout the organisation. For those that argue it is an old man's organisation, I would say, join, get involved and help change that perception.”
Andrew, from Donaghmore, said he enjoyed holding office with the Scarva preceptory.
“There are not many preceptories with a young leadership like RBP 1000 but it’s important to have experience from the older members to guide us in our decisions and actions,” he said.
“If the presence of Craig and myself encourages younger people to join the Institution, then that can only be a positive.”