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Coronavirus: Scarva Sham Fight and Last Saturday parades cancelled as Royal Black axes summer 2020 programme

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Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Rev William Anderson.

Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Rev William Anderson.

Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Rev William Anderson.

The Royal Black Institution has cancelled all summer 2020 parades, demonstrations and services.

The move will mean the popular Scarva Sham Fight and Last Saturday demonstrations will not go ahead this year.

Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson confirmed the decision had been taken after a review of a resolution passed on March 14, 2020.

As well as the Sham Fight which was scheduled to be held on July 14, the Bangor demonstration on the same day, as well as those in Kesh, Co Fermanagh, and Southport, England on August 1 have all been cancelled.

The demonstration in Partick, Glasgow on August 8 and the August 29 Last Saturday demonstrations in Ballyclare, Dromore, Co Down, Bangor, Raphoe, Co Donegal, Killylea, Co Armagh and Castlederg have also been cancelled.

The Sovereign Grand Master said: “While it is regrettable that this decision has to be taken, the coronavirus pandemic means we are living in difficult and uncertain times, and we appreciate completely our obligations under Government regulations that are likely to be with us for the foreseeable future.

“The protection of our members, band members, and all our friends and supporters that take part in and enjoy our processions is paramount, together with our responsibility for the wider community.”

Rev Anderson continued: “Our focus remains on doing all we can to assist with the fight against this terrible virus.

“It has been an extremely difficult time for many, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have lost loved ones.”

Following the cancellation of the Institution’s summer demonstrations, a spokesperson for Sir Knight Alfred Buller Memorial RBP 1000, organisers of the annual Scarva Sham Fight, said: “We will all miss the sights, the sounds and the pageantry of a day we in RBP 1000 hold very close to our hearts.

“Scarva is a family day, a day for friends who may not see each other from one year to the next but unfortunately it will not feature in our calendar this year.”

Belfast Telegraph