Dedication of new RAFA standard of Carrick branch

Carrickfergus branch standard bearer Joe Corr.
Carrickfergus branch standard bearer Joe Corr.

The Lord Lieutenant of County Antrim Joan Christie OBE joined Carrickfergus branch of the RAF Association for the dedication of a new standard.

The ceremony was conducted by Rev. Richard Graham, at Joymount Presbyterian Church, assisted by Rev. Derek Weir, presiding chaplain at RAF Aldergrove.

Rev. Richard Graham dedicates the standard.

Rev. Richard Graham dedicates the standard.

Rev. Graham said: “The tradition of standards is a long and honourable one.

“They provide a rallying point in times of difficulty or stress and a potential symbol of the organisation to which they belong, signifying loyalty to the crown.

“It is an ancient and praiseworthy custom to present the standard to God and to consecrate the emblem of a person’s duty to their fellows and service to others.”

Mrs. Christie said: “It has been a pleasure for me to support the RAF, the RAF Association in general and the Carrickfergus branch, in particular, over many years. It was a delight to be able to be present with the branch for what will be my last duty with its members, prior to the end of my tenure as Lord Lieutenant in the summer.”

Standard bearers and Carrickfergus branch members at the dedication of the new standard.

Standard bearers and Carrickfergus branch members at the dedication of the new standard.

She congratulated the new branch chairman Wing Commander Noel Williams and encouraged members to “continue their outstanding endeavours in raising welfare monies through their annual Wings Appeal campaigns”.

Branch president Maureen Irwin noted the “tremendous support” from other organisations and branches, that not only attended the service, but brought along their standards to add a “colourful backdrop” to the occasion.

Branch vice chairman, Steve Hoy, commented: “Our catchment area stretches from Whitehead through Ballycarry to Ballyclare, Greenisland, Monkstown, Glengormley and Newtownabbey.

“It was amazing to be so well supported not only from those who reside locally, but also from much further afield.

“It is vital that we continue to look after our veterans, so when you see our members at stalls collecting to fund our welfare activities with a very ageing veteran population, I do hope you will feel able to donate generously.”

Mr. Williams continued: “Our new standard, which is beautifully embroidered and looks really splendid, could not have had a better start to its official life of duty as our rallying emblem.

“It was also a very sad occasion as it was the last occasion that our Lord Lieutenant will grace our gatherings in her official role.

“We wish her health, happiness and a well-deserved retirement as she steps down from representing Her Majesty the Queen in County Antrim.”