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British Empire Medal presented to Rose Court resident

Staff at Rose Court, Ballymena, were delighted to be part of the celebrations when resident Robert Morrow was presented with the British Empire Medal for Services to the Community.

Robert, accompanied by wife Doris, was surrounded by dignitaries and around 20 family members for the presentation at his residence in Rose Court. Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Co Antrim, Joan Christie, presented Robert with his medal, following a citation by Deputy Lord Lieutenant Steven Montgomery. The ceremony was also attended by Robert’s former employer at Glenarm Castle, Alexander McDonnell, Lord Antrim, whose son Randal, Viscount Dunluce, nominated him for the award in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

"I am delighted to present this honour to Robert for his services to the community in Glenarm – it is very well-deserved and I am looking forward to hearing all his wonderful stories,” said Mrs Christie. "Usually, the BEM is presented at Hillsborough Castle, but it is fantastic when I have the opportunity to get out and about to present awards and talk to people like Robert, who has led such an interesting life.”

Asked how he felt to be honoured by the Queen, a dapper-looking Robert replied: "I am honoured and delighted!” Robert, one of 7 siblings, married Doris in 1961 and they have 3 sons, Alexander, Adrian and Leslie, 8 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren, including the youngest, Rosaria, who will be two in October. 

In his youth he lived at Mill Farm and Old Church Farm with his parents, David and Laura, and attended Longfield Elementary School, becoming a chauffeur for Lord Antrim the same year he got married, then later Estate Manager. After 43 years of full service, 7 days a week, to four generations of the Antrim family at Glenarm, Robert finally decided to hang up his boots and retire in 2004 at the age of 77.

"I have known Robert for well over 70 years and remember tobogganing with him as a boy, so I was delighted when he came to work for my father on the estate after he got married,” said Lord Antrim."It is all due to Robert that we got so well into farming, and since then we have never looked back. I was delighted when, after all those years, he handed management of the estate over to his son, Adrian, while I have handed it over to my son, Randal. "I have to thank Robert and his family whole-heartedly for what they have done for the estate and the community at Glenarm.”

Adrian says he has loved the estate his entire life. "I remember hiding in my father’s truck as a child, then popping out unexpectedly when he was on his way to work. If I revealed myself too soon, he made me walk home, so I soon learned to keep under cover until he got all the way there! There was no better or more exciting playground for me growing up and, thanks to my father, I understand the workings of the estate very well. He left it to me in good condition and I am delighted to be following in his footsteps and hope to do him proud!”

There has been a castle in Glenarm since the year 1260. Viscount Dunluce lives in the present castle, which dates from 1636, with his wife Aurora and their children Alexander and Helena. The working estate comprises forest, farmland and the Glenarm River. After Robert started work at the Castle in 1961 he continued to milk the cows on his father-in-law’s farm before and after work for another 35 years. Totally dedicated to his job and always eager to please, in the early Sixties he complied when instructed to drive down a one-way street by Lady Margaret. When halted by police, he suggested the officer should speak to the lady in the back, which the officer attempted to do. Afterwards, the officer sympathised with Robert and suggested it might be an idea not to bring her back to Belfast!

Robert was a member of Glenarm Village Committee and raised thousands of pounds for charity by performing on stage all over Northern Ireland for 35 years. Some of his sketches included The Operation (live heart replacement surgery on stage), The Tonga LOL (Jamaican Orangemen visiting NI for the Twelfth), The Coast Road Ladies Irish Dance Troop and The Hypnotist.

He was awarded a 40 Years’ Service Medal in 2001 which takes pride of place to this day in his room at Rose Court

Robert Morrow (91), resident at Rose Court, Ballymena, pictured with wife Doris and staff team Carol Shields, Regional Operations Support Manager, and care assistants Bernice (left) and Erinn.


The BEM celebration cake


Robert and Doris pictured with, back from left, Joan Christie, Lord Lieutenant of Co Antrim, Viscount Dunluce and Lord Antrim.

Robert and Doris with their sons Adrian, Alexander and Leslie, with the Lord Lieutenant of Co Antrim (left) and Deputy Lord Lieutenant Steven Montgomery.


Enjoying the moment – Robert and Doris, married for 57 years.


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