PICTURE GALLERY: Hundreds attend official opening of re-built Lavin Orange Hall

Published Date: 26 May 2010

IN glorious sunshine and with hundreds in attendance, Lavin Orange Hall which was destroyed by fire almost four years ago, has been officially re-opened.

The hall, bigger and more suited to the demands of one of the most respected Lodges in the country, saw the Orange Order’s top brass from throughout the United Kindgom in attendance including the Grand Master, Robert Saulters, Past Grand Master, Rev. Martin Smyth, Grand Secretary, Drew Nelson, and the Grand Secretaries of England and Scotland, David Taggart and Edward Hyde respectively.

Locally, the BM of Ballymoney Dsitrict, William Archibald, attended along with the County Grand Master, Joe Gaston. The chairperson of Lavin Ladies Commiteee, Mrs. May Gage, also occupied a seat on the platform.
Orangemen and bandsmen from across Northern Ireland turned out in a solid gesture of support for Lavin LOL 913 to witness Bro. Saulters officially open the hall followed by the act of dedication from Rev. Smyth.

David Hanna, the WM at Lavin, in the opening address, said a lot of hard work had gone in since the hall was destroyed by fire in July 2006. He praised the generosity of neighbours, fellow Orangemen and all those who had help them rebuild the building.

Four small words from Bro. Hanna encapsulated much of what everyone in the Lodge and band were no doubt thinking when he said: “It’s good to be home.”

Bro. Smyth said he had established a relationship with Lavin with a number of former members of the Lodge which reflected the quality of brethren in the community.
He spoke of the friendships he made with David and Herbie McCaughan while in America before going on to slam those who destroyed the hall four years ago.

Bro. Smyth said: “Those who dastardly destroyed this hall did themselves more harm that they have done the brethren for as we look at the hall I believe and I’ll misquote the scriptures here that the glory of the present hall will be better than the glory of the former one.”

Referring to the presence of Bros. Taaggart and Hyde from the mainland, Bro. Smyth spoke of the strength of the Union and how that union was like a three-fold cord that could not easily be broken.
Bro. George Wright then handed over a gift to Bro. Saulters and in doing so revealed that the hall had cost £165,000d to rebuild and praised the generosity of fellow Orangemen and the general public at large as well as the major contribution made by Lavin Ladies Committee.

In his address. Bro. Saulters spoke of the marked difference in mood from that of 2006. He said he had been making his way to Dunloy Orange Hall on the morning of the fire when he heard the news of the devastation on the radio.

He immediately drove to Lavin and saw that the building was still smouldering with members standing around with tears in their eyes.
“I was destined to speak in Ballycastle that afternoon and when I saw the band and lodge making their way to the field it was a sight for sore eyes and what a great reception they got,”he said.

Bro. Saulters described the new halfl as magnificent and reflected great credit on the Lodge. He recalled that when he visited Lavin on January 30, 2002 he was presented with an oil painting of the hall as it was then. The Grand Master then surprised everyone by presenting Bro. Hanna with a plaque and a painting of the new hall.

He said the premises would encourage new membes to the hall and said that Lavin had many friends not only from the local community but from all quarters.

Bro. Saulters congraulted everyone who had worked hard to make the hall happen.
“You have shown a wonderful spirit in the face of diversity,” he said.

Bro. Saulters used the occasion to call for Unionist unity.He said a single unionist party was needed to maintain the union, claiming there was too much division..
He said: “The UUP is veiwing its operations after its failure to gain a single MP, the TUV failed to significantly dent the DUP’s vote, and DUP leader Peter . “We will continue to dilute the union if we fight and bicker among ourselves,” said Mr Saulters. Mr Saulters said the Orange Order had members “who represent all the many shades of unionism”. “There is a huge groundswell of opinion that there must be a drive towards unionist unity or at the very least better joined-up thinking between unionists,” he said.

“Personally, I believe there should be one big unionist party which represents all the views that I hear. “It must be a party that is big enough and modern enough to allow people with conflicting opinions to work together for the common purpose of maintaining the union.”

A band parade took place following the platform proceedings.

    * Last Updated: 26 May 2010 2:16 PM
    * Source: n/a
    * Location: Ballymoney


David Hanna, W.M. of Lavin LOL 913, welcomes the Grand Master of the Orange Order, Robert Saulters, to the official opening and dedication on Friday night, along with Rev. Martin Smyth, Past Grand Master.BM21-228JC

Three veteran Orangemen pictured at the opening of Lavin Hall.. Included are James McKay, Willie Kirkpatrick and William Calderwood.BM21-229JC

David Hanna, W.M. of Lavin Lodge, with Mr. Bertie Quinn, contractor, at the opening of the new Orange Hall on Friday night.BM21-230JC

Officers and guests at the official opening of Lavin Orange Hall. Included are Robert Saulters, Rev. Martin Smyth, David Hanna, James Walker, James Murphy, Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary, David Taggart, Grand

Secretary, England, Edward Hyde, Grand Secretary, Scotland, George Wright.BM21-231JC
The oldest member of Lavin Flute band warms up for Friday night’s parade to mark the opening of the new hall. Tommy Murphy has been a loyal bandsman for more than 50 years and has no intention of hanging up the flute.BM21-232JC