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Working To Help Others
Randalstown District LOL 22 were crowned winners of the Best Charity Fundraising Lodge Award at the Orange Community Awards in 2013. Pictured (L-R) are Alex Wallace, Sheldon Murray, Grand Treasurer Jack Greenald, Alan Nicholl and Trevor Clarke.

THE Orange Order is deeply committed to helping those in need. Charitable giving is an essential part of Orangeism and it is not insular. Certainly we have our own charities but we have also raised large sums of money for various deserving causes such as equipment for local hospitals, holidays for disadvantaged children and "third-world" relief.

Of course we do not only give financially we also give of our time and talents. It is central to our ethos that as part of the community we provide a service to that community.

Annually the Order raises tens of thousands of pounds through its collections at church parades and similar functions to assist those in need.

As well as the established Grand Master’s Charity Appeal, through the Lord Enniskillen Memorial Orange Orphan Society the Institution has a magnificent record for helping boys and girls who have been deprived of the love and the contribution of a parent, through death by natural causes or as a result of continuing violence in Northern Ireland.

It is the best known Orange charity, but there are many others such as the Sir George A. Clark Bart Memorial Bursary Fund which assists people through educational bursary.

The tradition of an Orange helping hand goes back for generations. A perusal of the papers for the troubled period 1920-22 shows special efforts by the Institution to help distressed Protestants, including many from the Republic, who had lost their homes because of the terrible strife in the country at that time.

Again, during the Ulster Troubles when many families, especially in Belfast, were dispossessed and had to move, the Order was prominent in alleviating hardship.

All this is well documented and is recognised by many members of the general public.

Not so well publicised are the many efforts by Orangemen and their Lodges in helping the local community. District Lodges do considerable work to raise funds for local charities and good causes, through collections, donations and fundraising efforts.

Notable recent ventures include the efforts of Banbridge-based Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423 who raised over £60,000 for the Help for Heroes charity, through their involvement with an innovative project to bring a Lambeg drum from Brixham, England to the Boyne. The lodge also raised funds for the NI Cancer Fund for Children by carrying a Lambeg drum to the top of Ben Nevis.

A district lodge in Randalstown also produced special badges to raise over £16,000 for the RUC/PSNI Benevolent Fund and the Royal Engineers Benevolent Fund. They decided on the venture following the brutal murder of two soldiers in Antrim and PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in Antrim by dissident republicans in 2009.

One could list numerous examples of our work for charity but it is sufficient to stress that charitable giving is happening throughout Orange Lodges in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on a daily basis.