Grand Master declares ‘Twelfth near home’ a success as Sir Jeffrey Donaldson joins hometown parade
The Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Most Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson has declared the 331st Boyne Anniversary celebrations a “great success”.
This year saw demonstrations held at 100 locations around the Province as the Orange Institution celebrated a Twelfth near home with District parades rather than the traditional larger events.
The Grand Master, who spent the day with Brethren from his own District in Newtownstewart, said: “I am delighted to report that the 2021 Twelfth of July parades have been a great success.
“Yesterday we witnessed a huge turnout at 100 parades across the province - many lodges swelled with new members, excellent bands and a large turnout of spectators. Those who say our Institution, our culture and traditions are dying will have been very disappointed.
“It was no easy task for Districts to organise in the region of 100 parades. However, they stepped up to the challenge and have delivered events which ensured that not only was the 331st anniversary of King William III’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne appropriately marked, but that the Orange Family continued to put the best interests of the wider community to the fore in relation to Covid-19.
“The vibrancy of our culture was on display today right across Northern Ireland, as our Brethren, Sisters, Juniors and the bands community came together in celebration. I know from speaking to many people that the return of our Twelfth parades, even in this different format which saw smaller parades within local areas, has been a welcome sight.
“In the days and weeks ahead as we reflect on any lessons that can be learned from the 2021 Twelfth celebrations, we will do so in the knowledge that, God willing, a return to our traditional Twelfth demonstrations will be the main the focus for 2022.
“But before we look too far ahead, I would encourage all members of the Orange Institution and wider Orange Family to remember that this is still Northern Ireland’s CentenNIal year and there is much work to be done celebrating that special occasion over the coming months and beyond.
“I trust everyone has enjoyed their ‘Twelfth near home’ and I now look forward to many.
Meanwhile, DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson marched with the Ballinran Orange Lodge in Kilkeel, Co Down.
He told the PA news agency: “This is the community in which I grew up, my family still live here and it is great to come back and to meet people that I haven’t met up with in years.
“It is a very much scaled-down parade of what it would normally be but it is good to see some parading resuming on the Twelfth. I think people are just glad to have a day out.”
Video credit: With thanks to Gavin Bamford.