The mysterious case of a long lost lodge banner from Bellarena

A Limavady lodge has issued an appeal for a missing Orange banner – last seen on public display over half a century ago.

Bellarena Faith Defenders LOL 984 are looking to track down the unaccounted-for artefact as they celebrate their 70th anniversary this year, and are seeking the help of the Orange family and general public regarding its whereabouts.

The banner was unfurled in 1954 and carries a distinctive portrait of King George VI. Referring to the late monarch, it is also decorated with the words, ‘Duty was his Creed’.

The Co Londonderry lodge has in its ownership every other banner of its existence and is hoping the wider appeal will prove beneficial in their quest to be reunited with the historical item.

Lodge deputy master, Aaron Callan, encouraged all members, lodges and districts across the jurisdiction to search their halls and properties in the off-chance the missing banner could be yet discovered.

He said: “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 said the banner had special resonance, as it was the first to be commissioned by the lodge. 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.

Mr Callan, a keen historian, admitted it was “only by chance” the missing banner was discovered, when going through old minute books in preparation for the lodge’s anniversary. Having then received an old programme card relating to its unfurling, the Orangeman “immediately knew” the banner was absent.

Given the passage of time, only two current members of Bellarena lodge are believed to have walked behind the missing banner.

Commenting on the public appeal, Aaron said: “It would be fantastic for the lodge to be reunited with our banner and bring it ‘home’ given its significance. Our ultimate aim, if we are so fortunate, is to put it on display in our hall or the new Orange heritage centre in Limavady.”

If anyone might know the whereabouts of, or has seen this banner, please contact Aaron Callan on 07843 879358 or email aaroncallan@live.co.uk.

Published on the 6th of December 2017
Article taken from the News Letter

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