The Orange Order has elected a new Deputy Grand Master, following a meeting of the Institution’s ruling body in Cullybackey.
Harold Henning, formerly an Assistant Grand Master, replaces Rev Alistair Smyth, as the second most senior Orangeman in Ireland.
Rev Smyth, who will remain actively involved in the Loyal Order, has stepped down from the role after four years owing to church commitments.
Mr Henning, 53, will work alongside Grand Master Edward Stevenson, who was also re-elected at the Grand Lodge meeting in Cullybackey, at the helm of the Institution.
Speaking after his election, the Rathfriland native said: “It is a massive honour and extremely humbling to be appointed as the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.
“I am fully aware of the responsibility that has been bestowed upon me, but will do my utmost to serve the interests of our membership at all times; promote the Christian and reformed faith; and stoutly defend and uphold the proud heritage of the Orange Institution.”
Mr Stevenson said: “On behalf of our entire membership, I would like to congratulate Harold on his election to office. Harold has a long association with Orangeism, and will bring great enthusiasm, know-how and commitment to the role. I look forward to working in partnership with him, alongside other Grand Lodge officers, in the days and months ahead as we collectively further the ideals of the Orange Institution.”
The Grand Master added: “I also wish to pay tribute to the dedicated service and exemplary leadership of Rev Alistair Smyth over the past four years. As well as voicing the strong Christian principles associated with Orangeism, Rev Smyth always acted in the institution’s best interests as an unashamedly proud Orangeman.
“We are indebted to him for his faithfulness and loyalty, and wish him well in his continued ministry and as a member of the Orange Order.”
Meanwhile, Drew Nelson was re-elected as Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland at the Grand Lodge meeting.