Historic occasion for Orange Lodge

Hillstown Lodge members with the speakers at the opening, Bro. Rev. Ian McClean and Bro. Dr. William McCrea M.P.
Hillstown Lodge members with the speakers at the opening, Bro. Rev. Ian McClean and Bro. Dr. William McCrea M.P.

Members of Hillstown Orange Lodge recently gathered with friends and special guests for the opening of their new Orange Hall.

The short parade was led by Hillstown Lambeg Drums followed by Ahoghill Sons of William Flute Band.

Worshipful Master of Hillstown Bro. Alan Nicholl said he was honoured and proud to be Master of the Lodge on such an occasion and paid tribute to members and friends within the community who helped with work during the building project as well as those who contributed financially towards the purchase of land and building of the new hall.

He said funding had been secured by Hillstown Rural Community Group from the Rural Development Council IFI Maximising Community Space and Ballymena Borough Council, however, a substantial sum still had to be raised by members and the community.

Bro. Nicholl then invited Randalstown District Master and Deputy Master of Hillstown, Bro. Alex Wallace to chair the proceedings.

Following prayer by Hillstown Chaplain, Bro Gary Adair, the assembly sang “To God be the Glory” and a scripture reading from Matthew Chap7: v24 – 29 was read by District Chaplain Bro. Timothy McEvoy.

Bro. Hubert Nicholl, Past Master of LOL 176 and Past District Master of Randalstown District LOL 22, cut the ribbon and was presented with the key to the hall by Norman Gordon, representing the Building Contractor.

Bro. Rev. Ian McClean conducted the dedication and brought greetings and congratulations from the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. He said that Orange Halls throughout the country were being used for the good of the community with a variety of activities taking place and that Hillstown would be no different.

Bro. Dr. William McCrea M.P. for South Antrim, who also addressed the gathering, referred to the opening of the previous Orange Hall at Hillstown in September 1892 and congratulated those involved on their vision to build a new hall for community use.

Bro. Norman Sloan, Secretary of Hillstown LOL 176, thanked all those who had helped in any way with the building project and the arrangements for the opening.