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Cookstown: 10,000 enjoy Twelfth's carnival atmosphere

Ten thousand spectators watched the Cookstown flagship Twelfth celebration take place at the foot of the picturesque Sperrins.

Around 50 bands marched from the assembly field at Grange Road, along the town’s Main Street and up Moneymore Road to the demonstration field.

Colourful bunting and flags adorned the streets and there was a real carnival atmosphere as couples shared ice cream, families tucked into picnics and clowns made balloon models for delighted children.

The family fun continued with the parade itself. Two cartoon characters headed up the marchers, who arrived in the town centre at around 1pm.

Two young boys had the honour of leading the parade with the main banner, which proclaimed this a ‘Tourist Twelfth Flagship’.

As well as the bands there were leading Orangemen from seven districts — Killyman, Stewartstown, Cookstown, Castlecaulfield, Pomeroy, Coagh and Benburb.

Mother-of-three Wendy Badger (31) brought her daughters to watch the festivities and agreed it was a proud day for Cookstown.

She said “I’ve got my three girls with me, they’re aged four, six and 18 months, and we’ve all had a brilliant day.”

It took the lodges around an hour-and-a-half to walk the two -and-a-half mile route to the field.

The kids were well looked after again, with bouncy castles, souvenir stalls and a giant inflatable slide among the attractions.

The religious service ran a little late, beginning just after 3pm with a hymn, led by The Tanlaghtmore Silver Band.

Rev Dr David Murphy gave the main address, focusing on the spiritual aspect of the day and said the Orange Order should reach out.

He said: “We should cultivate truth, justice and charity, involving ourselves in evangelism, mission and outreach.”

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