Today the Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, KStJ, in his capacity as Knight Commander of the Commandery of Ards, Order of St John, chaired a Commandery of Ards Chapter meeting in the Throne Room at Hillsborourgh Castle, Royal Hillsborough.
Following the Chapter Meeting, the Knight Commander then held a Commandery Investiture in the Throne Room, which recognised the service of the St John Ambulance NI volunteers and included the presentation of bars for Long Service Medals.
In a special presentation, the Knight Commander presented four Service Medals in Gold, recognising over 60 years of service to the Order of St John. They were:
Many congratulation to all the postulants and award recipients.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, Honorary Colonel of 1st (NI) Bn ACF, today visited the Battalion at Magilligan where they were taking part in the Tripolio Cup, a military skills competition. The Lord-Lieutenant commented how much he enjoyed meeting the impressive cadets and how great it was to finally be able to get out and visit the cadets, after all the disruption caused by COVID-19.
Pictured with D Company and Colonel Adrian Donaldson, MBE, OStJ, VR, DL, Commandant of 1st (NI) Bn ACF.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, KStJ, Knight Commander of the Commandery of Ards, today attended the Priory of England & the Islands Chapter Meeting & Investiture at St John's Gate, in London. The Commandery of Ards oversees the charitable work of the Order of St John in Northern Ireland.
The Day started with prayers in the historic Crypt, beneath the Priory Church. The Crypt dates back to Norman times.
The Lord-Lieutenant then attended the Chapter Meeting in the Chapter Hall, St John's Gate. The Lord-Lieutenant was attending in his capacity as Knight Commander of one of the Commanderies, that falls under the guidance of the Priory of England and the Islands.
After lunch, the Priory had an Investiture in the Priory Church. The Priory investitures form one of the ceremonial highlights of the year. The Lord-Lieutenant processed into the Priory Church in full Order robes (see third picture), behind the banner of the Commandery of Ards.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, today presented a MBE to Rev. Dr Samuel Grant for services to the community in Carrickfergus. The Lord-Lieutenant visited Samuel in his care home.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, today joined Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to raise the flag for Commonwealth Day. He was joined by the High Sheriff of County Antrim, Mr John Lockett, OBE, the First Minister, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, the Mayor, Alderman Stephen Martin, and other Councillors.
Whilst in Lisburn, they also planted a tree for the Platinum Jubilee, as part of the Queen's Green Canopy initiative. For further information, please click here to see the Council's press release.
The Lord-Lieutenant then attended a Commonwealth Day service in St Columb's Church in Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn organised by 38 (Irish) Brigade.
The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim, Mr David McCorkell, today attended 2nd Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment's
St Patrick’s Day Parade in Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, for the traditional shamrock presentation as part of the regimental family day. This was the first parade of this scale that the Battalion have been able to put on since 2016.
The Lord-Lieutenant inspected the parade; addressed the soldiers, their families and the veterans; and helped present the traditional sprig of shamrock.
The Lord-Lieutenant of was accompanied by his Lord-Lieutenant Cadet, Cadet Company Sergeant Major Ciara McKay of
1st (NI) BN ACF. This was Ciara's last duty in the role and we wish her all the best for the future.
The Lord-Lieutenant addressed the parade and said:
"Distinguished guests, Ladies & Gentlemen
It is a real honour to be here today representing Her Majesty the Queen at your Battalion St Patrick’s Day Parade, particularly given that this the first time you have paraded collectively, and on this scale, since 2016.
This long-standing tradition of wearing a “sprig of shamrock” marks the strong links between the gallantry of the Irish soldier and the recognition first bestowed by Queen Victoria dating back to the Battle of Colenso in 1900. It is only fitting that this tradition has been continued to this day, by successive monarchs.
The parade today reflects the enduring bravery and sacrifice of soldiers from this Island who have taken the oath of allegiance and served without fear or favour. The 2nd Battalion continues to carry the mantle for those who have gone before you, and, on a personal note, this includes my Grandfather who served at the Somme with one of your antecedent regiments. Today’s Battalion continues to exemplify the commitment, spirit and pledge of continued service that was so clearly demonstrated back in the first World War.
When I look around at those on parade today, and see the impressive and varied collection of medals, it highlights the professionalism and dedication of the Battalion. The pride in belonging to this Battalion is also very evident; with so many Caubeens being held particularly high today. It is, therefore, no surprise that this Battalion is so well recruited and I am delighted that you are currently in the process of expanding your footprint into Limavady and Newtownards and have just been given orders to raise a fifth Company in Enniskillen. The latter obviously being a hugely symbolic regimental location, given this is where the regiment was first raised back in 1689.
Many regiments across the Army point to the excellent ties between the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and they aspire to mirror and emulate your proven success and enduring relationship. You have led the way in demonstrating how both Regular and Reserve soldiers can work together effortlessly in the modern ‘One Army’ and you have shown how the pride of the Irish soldier continues to make a difference wherever you go. So, to be joining you at this St Patrick’s Day parade, in HM’s Platinum Jubilee year, is particularly special and it is my great privilege to be able to share it with you, your families, veterans and the wider Regimental circle.
Therefore, it just leaves me to close by thanking you all, most sincerely, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, for your service and to wish you all a very happy St Patrick’s Day. Faugh a Ballagh"
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