Senior Orangeman ‘surprised and humbled’ by MBE honour

·1-min read

Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, has spoken of his “surprise” at being made an MBE.

The former Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch officer becomes an MBE in recognition of his services to the community.

Rev Gibson, who recently led celebrations for Northern Ireland’s centenary at an Orange Order event in Belfast attended by around 100,000 people, was a member of the police for nearly two decades.

Northern Ireland centenary parade
Mervyn Gibson speaks at an event to mark the centenary of Northern Ireland (Niall Carson/PA)

Subsequently he became a Presbyterian minister, working in east Belfast.

“I am very honoured and very humbled by it, I have to say,” Rev Gibson told the PA news agency.

“It is just a surprise, at the end of the day.

“When the letter comes through and you open it and read it, you sort of think – is this a joke from a friend?”

Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, pictured in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)
Mervyn Gibson, the Grand Secretary of the Orange Order, pictured in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

Rev Gibson, a prominent figure in the unionist community, has been a leading voice in the campaign against the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol trading arrangements that have created barriers on the movement of goods between Great Britain and the region.

The senior Orangeman thanked his family as he insisted the honour was not only for him, but for all those who helped him down the years.

“I have the support of my church, congregation, support of the community I work with in east Belfast and further afield,” he said.

“It is recognising all their work – while it is coming to me, there are so many people who have assisted me and helped me and supported me along the way.”

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