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Twelfth 2016 Limavady: Families and friends gather to bask in the atmosphere

BY Donna Deeney

Published 13/07/2016

A bands woman from the Star of the Roe enjoys herself at the 12th in Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16
A bands woman from the Star of the Roe enjoys herself at the 12th in Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16
A member of Aghanloo Flute Band at the 12th in Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16
George McClelland and David Donaldson from Largy at the 12th in Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16
Alderman Hilary McClintock picturd with her daughter Karen and grand children Ben, Caitlin and Chloe Coyle at the 12th in Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16
Micah Nicholson from Bovevagh watches the parade go by at the 12th in Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16
The annual Twelfth demonstration makes its way through Limavady. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 12.07.16

There was a real family atmosphere at this year's Twelfth of July celebrations in Limavady, where 60 lodges and 50 bands took to the streets.

Rain showers cleared up just ahead of the main parade, which got under way shortly after noon from Church Street before making its way along streets lined by thousands of spectators.

Most people had come well prepared for whatever the day held in store, carrying both umbrellas and sunglasses.

There were picnics galore, enjoyed from cars parked with their boots open and deck chairs at the ready.

The local lodges and bands led the parade - among them Edenmore True Blues, Ballyquin Sons of Ulster and Ballynarrig Pride of Orange. They were joined by visiting brethren and bands from Derry, Coleraine and Donegal.

For the first time the traditional platform at the field was abandoned in favour of a marquee, where Grand Master Edward Stevenson dedicated his address to the hundreds of Orangemen who lost their lives in the Battle of the Somme, 100 years ago.

Mr Stevenson said: "We wear our poppies today as a potent symbol of the immeasurable sacrifice of our forefathers on the battlefields of northern France 100 years ago.

"We remember with pride those servicemen from the 36th Ulster Division, and all who fought for King and country, and reflect on the many tens of thousands of members of our Institution worldwide who bravely enlisted at that time."

Mr Stevenson also added his congratulations to the Queen on her 90th birthday.

He continued: "We in the Orange fraternity proudly regard ourselves as among the most loyal subjects and so we also pay tribute today to Her Majesty the Queen, in this her 90th year.

"It is a magnificent accomplishment for the United Kingdom's longest-reigning monarch, who has devoted her entire life to the service of her country and the Commonwealth."

Speeches and marching aside, the celebrations in Limavady were also a chance to catch up with old friends.

Among them were Jeremy Ferguson from Donegal and Walter Simons from Coleraine, former work colleagues who look forward to meeting up every year.

Jeremy said: "I live away on the far side of Letterkenny now, but Walter and I worked alongside each other for almost 30 years and formed a good friendship. It's hard to keep in touch when you live so far away, but we never miss the Twelfth.

"Sometimes it is in Coleraine, sometimes Londonderry and sometimes here, but no matter, we will be there to watch the bands and check and make sure we are both still alive.

"Old friends we may be, but we are young at heart and days like this are precious at our age."

A regular meeting point has always been the Orange Hall on the edge of the town.

Alternative arrangements had to be put in place this year as the old hall, which had been in place since 1890, was demolished earlier this year to make way for a new facility.

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