St John’s Parish Church in Glynn was filled to overflowing for the dedication of plaques commemorating the RUC and UDR.
Visitors were welcomed on arrival by a guard of honour made up of standards representing the RUC George Cross Association, the Ulster Defence Regiment Association, Royal Irish Rangers and the Royal British Legion.
Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Co Antrim, Mrs Joan Christie OBE, headed the list of guests which included Julia Shirley, High Sheriff for the county, and the Deputy Mayor Councillor Michael Lynch MBE, Sammy Wilson MP MLA, Roy Beggs Jnr MLA and senior officers from the PSNI serving and retired. Escorts to the Lord Lieutenant were Warrant Officer Marc Robinson and Sgt Sam Maybin.
Retired RUC officer, Tom Richardson presented a plaque for the Royal Ulster Constabulary, George Cross and John Marshall presented on behalf of the Ulster Defence Regiment, Conspicuous Gallantry Cross.
The Venerable Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada and rector of St John’s, dedicated both plaques and described this as an honour and a reminder of those brave men and women who had faithfully served their community. They would be in place as a reminder to future generations of the sacrifices of those who had served.
In a moving address, Dr Paul Reid, chaplain to the Larne branch of the UDR Regimental Association, talked of the loyal and unselfish acts of those who had served in both forces. He spoke of the fact that the problems and scarring from what they faced in the line of duty did not go away with disbandment, amalgamation or political change.
Many former police officers and soldiers were still suffering from the stress and strain of the conditions in which they operated and the very high casualty rate, he said.
Commenting after the service, Major Austin Heatley, president of the Larne branch of the UDR Regimental Association said he was “overwhelmed” by the reception and kindness shown by the people of Glynn and, in particular, Archdeacon Forde for his willingness to help from the first time he had been approached.
“The congregation made us welcome and even ensured that we were refreshed with excellent catering at the end of the service,” he said.
“The commemorative plaques represented a positioning in churches more or less representing geographically the four cardinal points of the district. It has been an exercise in partnership which reflected the strong bond which had existed during those days of the troubles.
“This part of our work has now been completed. We will remember them,” said Major Heatley.