A MAJOR milestone for a Dromore lodge has prompted the head of the Orange Order to reject predictions that the institution is in terminal decline.

At the recent re-opening of Magherabeg Orange Hall, Grand Master Robert Saulters echoed earlier comments from Bro. William McMurray, Worshipful Master of Magherabeg True Blues LOL 838.
Mr. McMurray called on those who claimed Orangeism had no part to play in modern society to look at what had been achieved at Magherabeg, clear evidence, he said, that the institution continued to have �a valuable, essential and pivotal role�.
Mr. Saulters, guest of honour as the lodge officially re-opened its hall and unfurled a new banner, also insisted those predicting the end of the Orange Order had their facts wrong; all the evidence pointed to a vibrant and still growing organisation.
The re-opening of the newly refurbished Magherabeg hall began with a parade led by Mr. Saulters, Bro. Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, county and district officers accompanied by LOL 838s Lambeg drummers and Moneyslane Flute Band; Mr Saulters cut the ribbon at the hall and Bro. the Rev. Victor Neill led prayer.
Aughnaskeagh Silver Band led the praise and Mr. McMurray thanked all who had contributed to the successful completion of the hall.
�There are many,� he said, �who have shown great kindness and generosity, who have voluntarily given up their time, labour and skills on our behalf.
�We thank you one and all, and, of course, we will never forget our faithful friends who support our various fundraising functions, year in, year out; without your backing the lodge would not be in the healthy position it currently occupies.
�We have always had a strong, hardworking and dynamic lodge. We now have an impressive, modern building and a wonderful new banner.�
Senior lodge member, Bro. Wesley McCracken, officially unfurled the new banner, which was dedicated by Mr. Neill.
Miss Sarah McCracken presented a bouquet to her grandmother, Betty McCracken, as a token of the lodges appreciation for her grandfathers unfurling of the banner.
Mr. Nelson made the appeal and Mr. Saulters paid tribute to the lodge.
Magherabeg Deputy Master, John Ward, offically thanked all who had assisted with the programme of works, including WJM Building Services, Stanfield Building Supplies, Diamond Window Solutions, Bro. James Wilkinson, Bro. Gareth Lough, Bro. Brian Nelson, Bro. Alan Poots and Colin Shields.
He also thanked the police for assisting with the parade and John McCracken for the use of the assembly field.
The new banner had its first outing as the return parade travelled the short distance to the area of Finlays Barn, the original, 19th century meeting place of Magherabeg lodge.
The event closed with supper, laid on by the ladies committee.

Published date on the 22nd of June 2010
Article taken from the Dromore Today