One of the oldest serving Orange Order Worshipful Masters in Northern Ireland, and possibly the world, steps down after 65 years
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One of the oldest serving Worshipful Masters in Northern Ireland, and possibly the world, has stepped down as Wm after 65-years with the Orange Order.
Eighty-nine-year-old Wor Bro Andy McLean from County Antrim joined the Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001 on March 2 1959 at the grand age of 24.
He became Worshipful Master, for the second time, in 2015 serving nine years before officially stepping down from his leading role on Monday.
Andy, who turns 90 in February, explained: “I joined the order March 2 1959, meaning I’ve been a member for almost 65 years.1959 was a special year as I also married Isobel and we had our wedding reception in Benvarden Orange Hall.
“During the 65 years, I got around a bit and have been secretary, treasurer, chaplain, deputy master and Worshipful Master. But even though I’m stepping down from Worshipful Master I won’t be too far away as I’ll be taking on the office of Tyler which means I've held all principal offices available within a private lodge.
"It has been an honour and a privilege to have served the lodge for so many years especially as Worshipful Master and I’m looking forward to staying an active member of the lodge in my new role as Tyler.”
When asked about possibly being one of the oldest serving Worshipful Masters in Northern Ireland, and possibly the world, he laughed: “It would be nice but I’m not so sure I am.”
During a special installation of officers meeting on Monday, the grandfather of nine grandchildren and great grandfather to five, was honoured by Benvarden LOL 1001 for his many years of service, devotion and leadership.
He was presented with an engraved ceremonial gavel and base, a tie, a past master's certificate and a past master's jewel for both the Orange and the RAP.
Andy continued: “It was a lovely evening and I’m very proud to get this honour. I would like to thank everyone for making my years so special.”
David Stewart, new Worshipful Master of Benvarden LOL 1001, praised Andy for his commitment and dedication to the order adding ‘he’s an inspiration and a standard setter to us all’
He continued: “I want to express my sincere gratitude for everything Andy has done over the years for our lodge. On a personal level as the new Worshipful Master I am delighted Bro Andy is staying on as a principal officer in the lodge as he is an inspiration and a standard setter to us all, to me he is the definition of a gentleman and orangeman. His guidance and advice is second to none and I wish him all the health, happiness and God’s richest blessings in this next chapter of his time in the lodge."
Secretary and local councillor Allister Kyle of Bushmills District LOL 21, which operates Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001, added: “On Monday night I had the honour and privilege to conduct the installation of officers for Benvarden Temperance True Blues LOL 1001“Benvarden, a small country lodge in our District have been served faithfully by outgoing Worshipful Master brother Andy McLean.“Andy who is widely believed to have been the oldest serving Worshipful Master in the world, stood down from his position having served nine years in the post during his second stint at the helm.“Not only has Andy been a stalwart for the Brethren in Benvarden, he was an active member and supporter of the District lodge. Now serving as Tyler, Brother Mclean has served in every position possible within his beloved lodge in Benvarden.“Best wishes go to Worshipful Brother David Stewart as he embarks on a new chapter of Lodge life within Benvarden, he’ll have quite a term to sit if he is to rival Andy’s record.”
Bro Mervyn Calvin was also presented with a bar and a certificate to commemorate 60 years of membership and retiring-chaplain, Bro Sam Stirling, received a tie and a special wood-covered Bible from Jerusalem in gratitude for his many years of service in the position of Chaplain.