Belfast Telegraph

Orange Lodge issues appeal over missing banner

By Donna Deeney

An Orange lodge is searching for a banner lost for more than half a century.

Belonging to Bellarena Faith Defenders LOL 984, the banner was last seen on display over 50 years ago.

Lodge members hope the emblem, which was unfurled in 1954 and carries a distinctive portrait of King George VI, can be found in time to mark their 70th anniversary.

Lodge deputy master Aaron Callan has urged all members, lodges and districts to search their halls and properties in the hope the missing banner can be found.

He said: "What makes this banner particularly significant is that it was the first banner the lodge commissioned.

"It was specially made to mark the death of King George VI two years earlier, and was believed to have been carried for the last time at the Twelfth of July in 1965, appropriately in Limavady.

"There have been five banners commissioned to date, and we have the other four, but we really, really would like to find this missing one."

"We have heard a couple of stories that the banner may have been given to another lodge. Where exactly we do not know.

"One person said Co Down, while another thinks it may be a lodge in Co Fermanagh. Either way, we are trying to spring any memories in our pursuit to find it," Mr Callan continued.

A keen historian, he admitted it was "only by chance" the existence of the missing banner was discovered, when going through old minute books in preparation for the lodge's anniversary.

He explained: "When I was going through documents and papers for our 70th anniversary I came across an old programme card relating to its unfurling - it became obvious the banner was missing. Given the passage of time only two current members of Bellarena lodge are believed to have walked behind the missing banner."

Anyone with information on the missing banner is asked to contact Aaron on 07843 879 358 or email aaroncallan@live.co.uk

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