Apprentice Boys set to mark Lundy's Day with annual Derry parade
Thousands of Apprentice Boys and their supporters will descend on Londonderry today to mark one of the biggest dates in their calendar - Lundy's Day.
The event marks the 330th anniversary of 13 Apprentices shutting the city's gates on the advancing Jacobite army.
It will be commemorated over 24 hours, beginning with the firing of a canon on Derry's Walls at midnight and culminating in the burning of an effigy of Lt Col Robert Lundy, known as 'Lundy the Traitor' in the city centre late this afternoon.
Some 23 bands from across Northern Ireland, Scotland and England are expected to join the Apprentice Boys in a parade that will cross the iconic Craigavon Bridge before weaving through the city centre and making its way to St Columb's Cathedral for a Service of Thanksgiving. The Lundy effigy will be set alight near the Diamond as dusk falls.
Governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry, Edinburgh-born Graeme Stenhouse, said the day will be a proud and historic one.
"We have 23 bands coming on Saturday and we have in excess of 2,000 Apprentice Boys from all over Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and even Canada. So we are expecting up to 4,000 people there on the day," he said.
"This is 330th anniversary of the shutting of the gates in December 1688. I am very much looking forward to a peaceful and enjoyable day commemorating the actions of the brave 13 Apprentice Boys in December 1688. This year we will also take time to remember, on the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in 1918, the sacrifices that were paid on the battlefields of Europe."
Mr Stenhouse encouraged families to come and view the parade.
"It is one of the biggest dates in the Apprentice Boy's calendar," he said. "The burning of the effigy is a spectacle. A lot of people come just to see that. There is a lot hard work, dedication and commitment that goes into building the effigy and they take great pride in the jobs that they do."