Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

The Twelfth: Limavady

heather Smallwoods from Drumahoe pictured during the Twelfth of July demonstration in Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
heather Smallwoods from Drumahoe pictured during the Twelfth of July demonstration in Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
The Twelfth of July demonstration makes its way through the centre of Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
The Twelfth of July demonstration makes its way through the centre of Limavady which is one of the Orange Orders flagship parades. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.14
New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton talks to officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Phtograph by Kelvin Boyes/Presseye
New PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton talks to officers at the Twaddell Avenue interface at Ardoyne, north Belfast this morning. Phtograph by Kelvin Boyes/Presseye

An estimated 30,000 people were in Limavady for the Twelfth celebrations – the culmination of a week-long festival to mark Limavady's Flagship status.

While the rain threatened, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the throngs who lined the parade route to watch as, for the first time in 14 years, the entire Orange fraternity in Co Londonderry came together to celebrate King William's victory at the Battle of the Boyne.

Dozens of bands of all musical genres from across the North West paraded through the town alongside members from all 11 Districts of the county and Orangemen and women representing the five city districts.

The host lodge, Limavady LOL 6, led the parade which had a real international feel this year with the recently formed Las Vegas lodge represented by ex-pat and former Derry mayor Richard Dallas, accompanied by Allen Ford, the chaplain of the lodge.

Their attendance was a source of great amusement for the locals who refer to their home town affectionately as 'Limavegas' and many quipped about Las Vegas meeting Limavegas.

Mr Dallas, who moved from Dungiven to Nevada nine years ago and who became an American citizen earlier this year, is now the Secretary of Las Vegas Purple Star LOL 212.

Looking resplendent in their star-spangled ties, Mr Dallas and Mr Ford were delighted to be in Limavady and marching along with brethren from Dungiven Crown and Faith Defenders LOL 2036.

Mr Ford said: "This is my first time in Ireland and it is fantastic to be here to celebrate along with Richard.

"There are now 20 members in our lodge and we hope that in the future our entire lodge will be able to come and take part in the celebrations but in the mean time we are proud to carry the banner on their behalf."

The Twelfth celebrations were a great excuse for a real Dallas family reunion. Richard's twin brother Ryan had also travelled from his home in Switzerland to walk with the Dungiven Lodge.

Nearer to home, Ron Bather, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of England, and Charles Cefferty – representing the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland – were also in Limavady. Mr Bather explained that his home city of Liverpool was the only place in Britain to host an Orange celebration on the actual day and while he was missing out on that he was nonetheless delighted to be in Limavady.

As the parade got under way the spectators settled down to watch on deck chairs, with cool boxes at the ready.

Among them was Irene Kelly from Eglinton who even got her dog Dena in on the act.

She said: "Dena absolutely loves the Twelfth and the louder the band the more she likes it."

In line with events across Northern Ireland, a six-minute protest was held in Limavady at the Arts and Culture centre on Main Street.

Later at the field, the main address was given by Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Rev Alastair Smyth, who commended the Asher Bakery on its refusal to bake a cake which was to be decorated with a message promoting gay marriage.

He also voiced support for Scotland to remain in the UK and described the so called on-the -runs controversy as a "grotesque and underhand deal between Her Majesty's Government and Sinn Fein".

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