Its all change at the top for the District of Londonderry’s Orange Order marshals.
Long-time Chief Marshal for the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge, David Ramsey this week handed over the mantle and the official regalia of office to Allister Gault. Mr Ramsey has held the post of Londonderry for 16 years and currently holds the post of Assistant Chief Marshal with the Apprentice Boys of Derry, which he has undertaken for a similar period of time.
Although both men have undertaken detailed study, qualifying with NVQs at Level 2 and 3 in overall management of stewarding, they both work on a wide range of events, including football matches, fun days and community events all over the county and not just parades in the city.
“We were brought on board to help on the peace lines during times of trouble,” said David, who continued: “We attended meetings with all groups, including the police, business people and community leaders. The role of the Chief Marshal is chiefly recruitment, training management and managing the stewards who are all volunteers and last year was the first year that any of our boys were paid for their work.”
“In taking over, Allister will be executing the whole programme working to ensure venues and events are safe and enjoyable for everyone,” he said.
Asked what words of advice he had for his successor, David said: “I hope he knows that he always has got backup and that he enjoys himself and keeps a cool head and thinks ahead at all times.”
Responding, Allister said: “I have worked with David for some time and have served my apprenticeship, so I am not intimidated. I know that David and the others are there to help and we have a good time working together. I just hope to continue on the good work and want to see some new faces come in and get training off the ground for other Brothers and Sisters.”