The County Grand Lodge of England played host once again for the Annual St George's Day Parade and Service in Liverpool. The Grand Lodge of England was delighted to welcome the Imperial Grand Master of the Independent Grand Lodge of Ireland, Bro Alan McLean along with the Deputy Imperial Grand Master, Bro James Anderson. The Scottish Delegation was once more led by the County Grand Master of Scotland, Bro William Spence, Sisters and Brethren from Bristol, Colchester and Manchester were also in attendance.
The parade commenced at 1pm from the Orange Headquarters in St Domingo Road and headed for the City Centre. The weather was excellent and the bands on parade excelled themselves as they accompanied the Orangemen to St George's Hall. The meeting took place in the Grand Concert Hall and Master of Ceremonies on this occassion was Bro Phil Moffatt. After the singing of the first hymn, Pastor Ray Williams from The People's Church on Netherfield Road opened the meeting in prayer. The Imperial Grand Master, Bro Alan McLean, then came to the lectern and brought greetings from the Imperial Grand Lodge, after which he spoke upon the invitation which had been extended to the Independent Institution to join the Grand Lodge of Ireland for Ulster Covenant Day. He informed the members that the Royal Black Institution, the Apprentice Boys of Derry and the Independent Orange Order would all unite as Loyal Orders along with the Grand Lodge of Ireland to commemorate 100 years of the signing of the Ulster Covenant.
Bro James Anderson, Deputy Grand Master of the Imperial Grand Lodge / County Grand Master of Antrim, after bringing greetings from the County Grand Lodge of Antrim then addressed the meeting and informed the Sisters and Brethren of the monumental invitation which had been extended to the Institution to be part of the delegation which would accompany Her Majesty, the Queen, during her recent state visit to Dublin.
Greetings were then brought from the County Grand Master of Scotland, Bro William Spence who was delighted to be in Liverpool once again and renew fellowship with the English Brethren. Bro Spence extended a warm invitation for the County Grand Lodge of England to join the County Grand Lodge of Scotland during their annual demonstration due to take place at Lark Hall, in June 2012.
The Most Worshipful County Grand Master of England, Bro Steven Bell, was unable to attend the parade due to ill health, however, comment was made in relation to his quality in leadership, enthusiasm and the source of encouragement which he has been to members of the Institution, both home and abroad.
The guest speaker once again on this occasion was Mr Roy Hughes, former leader of the Protestant Party in Liverpool, and a friend of Orangeism on Merseyside. Roy provided an inspirational message and placed a challenge before the meeting to trust in the Lord and in the power of his might.
The meeting concluded with the Benediction by the Rev. Bro. Gordon Wareing from the Free Church of England.
After the singing of the National Anthem, the parade reassembled for the homeward journey.
During the return route, the Independent Order had occasion to cross paths with friends from the Liverpool Provincial Grand Lodge. Senior officers of the Independent Institution, as a mark of respect, removed their bowler hats until the Provincial Grand Lodge parade had passed. We were encouraged to hear spontaneous applause from numerous Lodges within the Liverpool Province which can only further foster good relations between both orders. An enjoyable time was had by all and the parade dismissed at the Orange Headquarters.
The Officers and Members of ILOL 200 regrettably announce the untimely death of Brother Richie Williams. Richie was a valued member of ILOL 200 and served the Lodge in the Office of Treasurer attending to the financial affairs.
Brother Williams was also a Grand Lodge Marshall who liaised with Merseyside Police and ensured that all our parades took place with no incidents.
Richie was attacked in the early hours of this morning on his way home from work. He was taken by ambulance to Aintree hospital and put on a life support machine but sadly at approx eight am he passed away peacefully . Richie has left behind his wife Anne ,son Richard, daughters Lisa, Joanne and Jessica and all the grandchildren.
A personnel friend of the Grand Master and his family, he will be sadly missed and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones at this sad time. Further details appertaining to funeral arrangements will be posted when finalised.