After a gap of 16 months and despite the country still being under Level One lockdown conditions, the Grand Bailiwick of South Africa recently held an extremely well-attended Friday evening Vigil and Saturday Investiture Service and Formal Dinner.

At the Investiture Service, National Certificates of Merit were awarded to two final year medical student members who continue to work beyond the call of duty during the pandemic; two Bronze Medals of Merit (South Africa) were awarded for outstanding service to the Order and a Bronze Cross of Merit was awarded to a member by order of the Grand Master. A Knight was made an Officer of the Companionate of Merit.

Three new Associates were inducted and one Associate was invested as a Member; six members were promoted to the rank of Officer; a new Assistant Chaplain - the Rev. Timothy Lowes - was invested and a long-standing Commander promoted to the rank of Knight.

Of particular interest was the granting for the first time in this country, of a Grand Bailiwick Award for Courage to a teenager who selflessly risked his life to save people from drowning.

The service was led by Chaplain, the Ven. Terry Lester. Members in a newly-revitalised Commandery in Johannesburg 1600 kilometres away, also attended.

Guests at the Service included parents and family with two youngsters who are beneficiaries of an Educational Trust for deserving students from disadvantaged communities, funded by a bequest through the Grand Priory of Ireland and managed by the Grand Bailiwick.

“What is significant today”, said Grand Bailiff Dame Tamra Capstick-Dale in her remarks at the dinner afterwards, “is that while the average age of our Order’s membership worldwide is getting older, we certainly appear in this country to have reversed the trend. This bodes well for us here and the work that lies ahead for the people we serve.”

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