On the evening before the Commemoration the regular meeting of the Parent Club included the Initiation of twenty-four candidates, including nine to be the core of the proposed Club in Corby, six from our oldest Club, Partick and others from Donemana, Newtownstewart, Manorcunningham and Greenock. It was a tremendous end to a year of exceptional numbers being Derry Made into the Murray Club.
Australia Murray had recalled the 335th Annual Commemoration of the Shutting of the Gates earlier in the day, in Adelaide, which included the installation of a new Officer team. All the very best to the Club as it continues to establish itself, consolidating and growing, keeping alive the memory of the Brave 13 on the far side of the world.
There was a huge turnout of Apprentice Boys for the Annual Commemoration In Londonderry, reflecting a year of outstanding growth for the Association across all Clubs.
The Service of Thanksgiving in St. Columb’s Cathedral was packed, and with many standing at the back. A wreath was laid on the Siege Heroes Mound. The day ended with the burning of Lundy, with the Mitchelburne Club have the honour to keep the traditions of the Association for this year.
Late November through to early January is a busy time, with Officers of the Parent Club endeavouring to have at least one representative at a Branch Club’s Installation of Officers, if at all practicable. Donemana Murray made visiting a little easier, holding its Installation of Officers in the Apprentice Boys Room in the Memorial Hall. The Club organised a tour of the Siege Museum preceding the meeting, and arranged refreshment to follow. Congratulations to the Club for the initiative and all the best to the Officers, old and new, for the year ahead.
The Murray Club joined with the Mitchelburne Club for the Annual Visit to the Graves of Col. Mitchelburne and Col. Adam Murray on 17th September. This was the first time the two Clubs were able to join in the Visit to the Graves since 2019. The President, Gordon McMorris laid at wreath at the Grave of Col. Adam Murray. Members of the Parent Club were joined at the event by members from Ballywillan Murray and Donemana Murray.
This year the Murray Club has the honour of being to the fore in assuring the traditions of the Association for the 322nd Annual Commemoration of the Shutting of the Gates against the army of King James in 1688.
Each year one of the eight Parent Clubs that are the foundation of the Associated Clubs of the Apprentice Boys of Derry have the honour of undertaking the lead role in the traditions of the Association. With the Covid-19 regulations and guidelines in place, the scale of the Commemorations was much reduced.
As is tradition in heralding the day’s events, the firing of a cannon one and three times for the Brave 13, took place at midnight.
This was followed by members of the Murray Club symbolically touching the four gates closed to the armies of King James.
A two storey high Lundy was not burned on Bishop Street following the Service of Thanksgiving at St Columb’s Cathedral. A very much ‘reduced’ Lundy was burned at the start of the day, enabling the tradition to be secured that included the presentation of Lundy’s Soles and the lighting taper to the Murray Club President. The decision on the ultimate recipients of these items will be made when the Parent Club is again able to meet, physically, as a Club.
Starting at the Memorial Hall, thirteen Apprentice Boys – one from each Parent Club, four Officers of General Committee and a Standard Bearer carrying the Crimson – along with a drummer and fluter paraded to the Siege Heroes Mound within the grounds of St Columb’s Cathedral. At the Siege Heroes Mound a wreath was laid by the President of the Murray Parent Club in memory of the Defenders of Derry, and a short service was conducted by Rev. Nigel Cairns of St. Augustine’s Church.
Following which the Apprentice Boys paraded back to the Memorial Hall, the flags that had been erected earlier that morning on Walker’s Plinth were taken down, and the day ended with the close of General Committee which had been opened before the day commenced.
The President of the Murray Club has taken on the role of General Treasurer of the Associated Clubs in recent months, due to the passing of Bro. Alwyn Ferguson earlier this year – the black ribbon was placed on the Crimson in his memory. For that reason, there was also a representative from the Murray Parent Club as one of the eight Parent Club representatives, Bro. David Austin.
The Murray Club would like to thank the following for their advice and support in fulfilling the honour of undertaking the traditions for the 332nd Annual Shutting of the Gate Commemoration: General Secretary of the Associated Clubs, William Moore, for his limitless knowledge of our Association’s traditions; The Governor of the Association, Graham Stenhouse, and the Chairman of the Trustees of the Memorial Hall, Ivan Taylor, for joining us in assuring 13 touched the gates. Thanks too to Donemana Murray for the four members who live in Londonderry, and joined us to touch the Gates. Thanks to Norman Rossborough and Christopher Sherrard for manning the Cannon. Thanks to the Walker Family for all aspects of building and the burning of Lundy, and raising the flags on the plinth. Thanks to Rev. Nigel Cairns, St. Augustine’s Church, for attending the Siege Heroes Mound and leading the short Service. Thanks to Gordon Porter, drum, and Tim Cairns, flute, who accompanied the 13 Apprentice Boys on this unique Commemoration of the Shutting of the Gates. Final thanks to Trevor Boyd and the ABOD Marshals for being there at all times.
Murray Clubs were unable to join the 331st Annual Commemorations for the Relief of Derry in 2020. General Committee maintained the traditions in the Maiden City. Branch Clubs held local Commemorations, some with short parades and others with simple Acts of Remembrance at local War Memorials.
In alphabetical order, with longer reports for Clubs in Crimson by clicking on name:
AghadoweyMurray held a short service at the local War Memorial on Saturday 8th at 2pm in a simple Act of Remembrance. President Edward Acheson laid a wreath on behalf of the Club.
Antrim Murray laid a wreath at the town’s War Memorial; President Bro. Phil Laverty assisted by Vice President Bro. William Surgenor. In keeping with the day’s Anniversary the Club made a contribution to the local Steeple Veterans Flute Band to dress as apprentice boys for its short parade.
BootleMurray held a short Service of Remembrance at Bootle Cenotaph at 11am on Saturday 8th. A short service was led by Ian Thompson of Bootle Protestant Free Church. President Keith Taylor laid a wreath, assisted by Bro. William Lorimer.
Thirteen members of Bryansford & District Murray held short Act of Remembrance at the Newcastle War Memorial on Saturday 8th August, led by the Chaplain, Rev George Speers. The wreath was laid by Wreath laid by Vice President, Bro Richard Foster.
Donemana Murrayheld a wreath laying ceremony at the local Orange Hall, and was joined by Mrs Mary Hamilton on the day who presented the Club with gifts in memory of her late husband Ernest who had been a faithful member of the Club for over 50 years.
Greenock Murray held two short services on Saturday 8th August. Wreaths were laid at the Broomhill which is on the Clubs traditional Parade route.
Also at Wellpark Cenotaph, the central one to Greenock, and close to where the Club regularly meets.
Also at Wellpark, the Greenock Murray remembered Bro. Andy Potter who died suddenly in March 2020 at a bench that (due to Covid regulations) has yet to be dedicated.
NewtownstewartMurray laid a wreath at the War Memorial at 2pm, having watched the Red Hand Defenders pass the Memorial.
President, Sam Allison, was joined by David Bradley, bandmaster of the Red Hand Defenders. The band, of which a number are Murray members, paraded the town.
Teemore Murray held a short Act of Remembrance on Saturday morning, laying a wreath at the Tandragee War Memorial. Present were Tres. Mark Cowan, Robert Cowan, V.P James Wallace, President Daniel Haire, Sec. Trevor Cowan, Noel Berry, David Uprichard.
UpperlandsMurray started the day with a short Parade in Maghera. Returning to Upperlands, there was a short Parade before an Act of Remembrance at the recently completed Memorial Garden; President Ivan Gordon and Vice President Hugh Hunter laid a wreath on behalf of Upperlands Murray, joined by Boveegh Flute Band.
A large number of Wishaw Murray members turned out on Sunday, 9th August 2020, at the Armed Forces Memorial Garden in Belhaven Park Wishaw to commemorate the Relief of Derry. The wreath was laid by one of the youngest Members of Wishaw Murray. There was a short service, with a closing prayer and the National Anthem.
Donemana Branch Murray Club held a Wreath Laying ceremony at the War Memorial in the grounds of Donemana Orange Hall to mark the 331st anniversary of the Relief of Derry.
Saturday 8th August was like no other in living memory, as pandemic regulations limited celebrations for the end of the historic siege of Londonderry. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the local Branch club were in the same situation as others across the Province, unable to parade in the city of Londonderry.
A number of the Branch club members attended the Wreath Laying ceremony, where the Branch President, Worthy Bro Ian Gordon left a Wreath at the at the War memorial to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Two members of Barron Accordion Band, David Buchanan and Mrs Sylvia Rankin, played the appropriate hymn “Abide with me” prior to the Laying of the Wreath as part of a short service. Prayers were said by the Branch Chaplin. Bro Ian Donnell and at the end of the ceremony Bro Colin Campbell ( Piper) played a “Lament”. Bro Ivan Buchanan (Branch Treasurer) gave a short talk on the history of the famous siege and especially the vital part played by the “Gallant Thirteen” young Apprentice Boys who shut the gates of the city against the advancing Redshank Troops who were to secure the City for King James.
Prior to the start of the Wreath Laying ceremony, a special guest of the Branch club, Mrs Mary Hamilton, wife of the late Bro Ernest who had been a faithful and loyal member of the Branch club for well over 50 yrs, presented the Branch club with a number of gifts, including a Replica of one of the famous cannons used in the defence of the city during the 105 day siege, and a framed photograph of her late husband. Mrs Hamilton spoke briefly and very emotionally about her late husbands love, dedication, loyalty and great respect he had for the Branch club and its members. Mrs Hamiltons three daughters accompanied her on the day to give her their fullest support, namely Eleanor, Heather and Miriam.
At the end of the day, Bro Tommy Allen presented Mrs Daisy Watt with flowers on behalf of the Club in recognition of all the work she undertakes with organisations who use the Orange Hall, not least in the added role of preparing the Hall for use within Covid Regulations.
A One Hundred Year Anniversary is a very momentous milestone.
An Anniversary Dinner celebration in October 2019 was the occasion to present a 50 Year Service Jewel to Andy Deans. The President of the Murray Club, Gordon McMorris presented Donemana with a Murray Shield, a new item the Parent Club has created for special presentations.