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Parade honours those who made the ultimate sacrifice

By Claire McNeilly

The mayor of a French village destroyed in a World War One bombardment joined forces with Orangemen at the weekend to commemorate the Battle of the Somme.

Lodges from across Co Down and further afield paraded from Conlig to Newtownards, symbolising the route taken by the 36th Division a century ago when leaving the nearby Clandeboye Estate en route to the battlefields of France.

Joining Grand Master Edward Stevenson at the wreath laying was Mayor of Thiepval and guest of honour, Max Potie.

The original village of Thiepval in northern France was on the Somme front in 1916, and was flattened by bombing during the bloody conflict.

Saturday's parade halted briefly at Newtownards War Memorial for a silent tribute, before a short religious service in Londonderry Park, including an address by local historian, Dr David Hume.

The memorial event also incorporated a family day of World War One exhibitions and displays at the Somme Museum.

Meanwhile, history came alive for thousands of spectators in Carrickfergus on Saturday as 'King William' returned to the Co Antrim town for its annual pageant.

One of the most colourful events in the parading calendar, it marked the 326th anniversary of William of Orange's arrival, and comes ahead of the Twelfth of July celebrations next month.

Spectators saw a re-enactment of King William being rowed into the town's harbour to be met by soldiers, dragoons and dignitaries dressed in period costume, before he then led a parade on horseback through the town.

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