Gilford to host annual Twelfth parade

Drew Nelson
Drew Nelson

Upwards of 20,000 people are expected to enjoy the colour and pageantry of the biggest Twelfth demonstration in County Down.

The large number of spectators lining the streets of Gilford will witness approximately 100 lodges and 80 bands parading through the village.

A total of eight districts will step out for the 324th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne on the banks of the River Bann, with Orangemen, women and juniors representing Lower Iveagh, Rathfriland, Banbridge, Lower Iveagh West, Bann Valley, Newry, Loughbrickland and, of course, Gilford.

The parade is scheduled to commence on the Portadown/Lurgan Road at 12 noon and will proceed through the village to the demonstration field on the Scarva Road.

The parade will be led by Gilford District No 13, who will be joined by Blackskull Orange and Blue band.

The traditional procession to the demonstration point will have a special resonance for participants given the new field was only officially opened earlier this year by Gilford District following a special dedication ceremony.

The relatively short walk should be a breeze for the members of Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders LOL 423 who successfully completed a 945-mile charity fundraiser from John O’Groats to Lands End in aid of military charity, Help for Heroes.

In June, brethren from the lodge, along with Scottish peers, cycled the entire epic journey with a Lambeg drum on tow, raising almost £30,000 in the process.

Among the many colourful banners being carried will be that of local lodge, Ark of Safety LOL 1901.

The banner is also one of the newest on parade, having recently been unfurled for the first time.

At the field, the chair will be taken by the Worshipful District Master for Gilford District, Roy Leckey.

Among the senior brethren on the platform will be County Down Deputy Grand Master, Sam Walker, who will also be guest speaker on the day.

The Twelfth was last held in Gilford in 2006.