Orangemen prepare for Twelfth celebrations

THE district’s Orangemen will be on the march this Thursday with the annual Twelfth celebrations taking place.

Around 500 members of the Loyal Orders are expected to take part in the yearly parade around Banbridge before they head off to the main demonstration, which this year will take place in Newry.

At 8am members from LOL No 423 Banbridge Bible and Crown Defenders and will leave from the hall on the Seaptrick Road, down the Lurgan Road and into Church Square. Then they will head up Downshire Place and on to Victoria Street before arriving at Banbridge Orange Hall.

Then, at 9.45am, the lodges of Banbridge District will begin the parade through the town. They leave Victoria Street and head onto Reilly Street and then Scarva Street. They head up the town via Newry Street before coming back down at the roundabout, under the Cut and onto Bridge Street, Church Square and Dromore Street before boarding the buses to Newry on the Dromore Road.

One hundred lodges and eighty bands are expected to take part in the parade in Newry with eight districts on parade – Lower Iveagh, Rathfriland, Banbridge, Lower Iveagh West, Bann Valley, Loughbrickland, Gilford and Newry.

This will be a massive parade in the city and the honour of leading the parade will go to Altnaveigh Pipe Band.

The parade will set off from the local Orange Hall on the Downshire Road at 12 noon and move to the Town Hall on Sugar Island before coming back out the Belfast Road to the demonstration field at Cloughanramer Road.

A religious service will be held there at 2pm, conducted by Rev. Nigel Reid, a Grand Chaplain of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.

There will be three resolutions read at the main demonstration, the first being based on the subject of faith: “As members of the Loyal Orange Institution we give thanks to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which we enjoy. We believe that there is only one true and living God, the Creator of Heaven and earth. We praise God for His great self-revelation in the pages of Holy Scripture and for sending His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Saviour.

“Today we remember God’s covenant of grace which has made salvation available to all who will repent of their sin and trust in Jesus as their Saviour. In an increasingly secular world we urge all men to study the Scriptures so that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit they may come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.”

The second resolution is about loyality: “We, the Orangemen assembled at Newry, extend our Heartiest congratulations to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the Diamond Jubilee of her accession to the Throne. We give thanks to Almighty God for Her Majesty’s devoted service to this country and the Commonwealth. We gratefully appreciate Her Majesty’s visit to Northern Ireland last month as part of her Jubilee celebrations. We pledge our continuing loyalty to Her Majesty The Queen and her heirs and successors, being Protestant. With all of her loyal subjects we pray – God Save the Queen.”

The final resolution will be about the State: “We the Orangemen assembled at Newry commemorate with pride this centenary year of the signing of the Ulster Covenant of 1912, mindful that the stand of our forefathers against Home Rule helped preserve our identity and retained our cherished position within the United Kingdom at that time and thereafter. We remain convinced that the Union offers the best possible future for all the people of Northern Ireland as equal citizens of the United Kingdom.”

The Orangemen will be back in Banbridge for the return leg of the parade at 5.30pm