Belfast Telegraph

All at attention for weekend when Royal Irish don the shamrock

By Rebecca Black

Preparations are well under way at Thiepval Barracks to continue a special St Patrick's Day tradition first ordered into being by Queen Victoria.

The 2nd Battalion the Royal Irish Regiment will host its annual presentation of shamrock on Saturday.

The Lisburn base will reverberate with the skirl of pipes and drums as the Lord Lieutenant of Antrim Joan Christie takes the salute for the annual parade.

Although three reservists will miss out on this weekend's festivities because of work commitments, commanding officer Lieutenant Colonel DB Kenny made sure they still received their shamrocks last weekend.

It was a pleasant surprise for Sergeant Ricky Young from Ballymena, Sergeant Tommy Mateer from Lisburn and Private Natalie Bowbanks from Portadown.

Sgt Mateer, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, said it would be the first parade he has missed in more than 20 years. "It was a great privilege to receive my shamrock in front of the battalion at the weekend," he said.

He added: "I was not expecting it, and it really was a surprise."

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