An Orange host descended on Lisburn on Tuesday for what would later be hailed ‘a Twelfth to remember’.
Brethren, bands, friends and family thronged the city in their thousands as it hosted the South Antrim Combine for the first time in seven years.
Among them were the DUP’s Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson and Ulster Unionist MLA Jenny Palmer, who praised bands, public and the Orange Order itself for travelling to Lisburn and making the Twelfth so memorable.
On parade with her women’s lodge in Lisburn, where she read the Third Loyal Order Resolution during platform proceedings, local MLA and leading Lagan Valley Orangewoman Mrs Palmer said in her statement of praise: “The community is to be highly commended for its magnificent support of all the mainstream Orange Order parades throughout Lagan Valley, as well as the main Twelfth demonstration in Lisburn.
“The organising brethren and sisters of both the mainstream Orange Order and Independent Institution are to be equally commended for hosting very professional parades which enhanced both orders’ true Christian and family values.
“We all also give thanks to Almighty God for the good weather which the Twelfth parades and main demonstration in Lagan Valley enjoyed as well as for the safety of those on the march and watching.”
She added: “Praise must also be given for the professionalism of the police on duty and the emergency services which were on standby as well throughout the day.
“This year’s Twelfth parades across Lagan Valley were some of the best attended in the history of Orangeism in the constituency.
“As well as the annual Twelfth parades, the community is also to be thanked and praised for its support of the various Orange lodges and Black preceptories’ annual divine church parades and services.
“As the traditional Marching Season now switches in emphasis to activities organized by the Royal Black Institution, I call on the community to continue this magnificent support at church services and especially at the county demonstrations during Black Saturday next month.
Meanwhile, Mr Donaldson, a member of Lisburn District, said it was great to be part of the Twelfth parade in the city.
“There wasa large amount of people lining the streets as well as others taking part in the parade itself,” he said.
“I know they all had a very enjoyable day and I am glad that it passed off without incident and the weather held up.
“It shows that the whole community can enjoy this type of event.”