Stephen’s name first to be added since 1945

WHEN the name of Lance Corporal Stephen McKee is unveiled on Banbridge’s war memorial on Sunday it will be the first time since 1945 that such an event has taken place in the town.

The Royal British Legion, while stressing that this is a day for the McKee family, have been key in organising what they believe will be one of the largest parades ever seen in Banbridge.

Joe McCready, from the town’s branch of the Legion, is expecting close to 150 people to be on parade with potentially thousands watching on.

“There haven’t been any names added to the memorial since the end of the Second World War so this will be quite an unique event,” he said.

“We want this to be a service for the McKee family where the whole of the town can take part and pay their respects. There will be ministers from the various faiths and the only wreaths to be laid will be on behalf of the McKee family, the Royal Irish Regiment, Banbridge Royal British Legion, the Woman’s Section of the Legion and the Royal Irish Association.”

The parade has been meticulous organised to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

“The service itself will be very similar to Rememberance Sunday in it’s format,” Joe explained.

“The parade, which leaves the Legion at 2.45pm, will be led by myself and a pipe band. They will be followed by standard bearers from right across Northern Ireland and, from the correspondance we have received, there could be between 40 and 50 of those in attendance.

“Also in the parade will be members of the Royal Irish Association along with representatives from the Royal British Legion and other organisations.”

The parade route will go from the Legion up Kenlis Street before turning right and halting on Newry Street.

At the memorial the exhortation will be recited, followed by the last post which will be played by a buglar from the pipe band. There will then be a period of silence concluded by the reveille and a lament from a piper.

Afterwards the parade will head up Newry Street, cross Jingler’s Bridge and back down the street towards the memorial before going down Kenlis Street to the Legion where it will be dismissed around 3.50pm.