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Curtain comes down on parading season with Last Saturday


‘Spectacle’: Rev William Anderson

‘Spectacle’: Rev William Anderson

‘Spectacle’: Rev William Anderson

Thousands of Royal Black Institution members will gather at locations across Northern Ireland tomorrow for the annual Last Saturday demonstrations as the curtain comes down on the 2018 parading season.

The demonstrations take place at six locations — Newtownards, Larne, Ballymena, Cookstown, Donemana and Limavady — with around 350 preceptories participating, many of them accompanied by bands.

Sovereign grand master Rev William Anderson, who will attend the Cookstown parade, said the institution was “once again expecting another glorious day of spectacle and pageantry” attended by thousands of people.

“I trust and pray the respective parades will be wonderful and memorable occasions for all involved,” he said.

“I wish all Sir Knights, preceptories and districts — and our supporters — a fantastic day as we come together in Christian fellowship to celebrate our cultural heritage. I trust and pray the respective parades will be wonderful and memorable occasions for all involved.”

The largest parade will be in Newtownards, which last hosted the annual Co Down Grand Black Chapter procession in 2005.

The Co Antrim demonstration will take place in Larne, where up to 80 preceptories will take part. It is expected there will be upwards of 75 bands and 3,000 members on parade.

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In Co Tyrone up to 70 preceptories and a similar number of bands will take part in the Cookstown parade, which will be led by Tullylagan Pipe Band.

Five districts representing south and east Tyrone and north Armagh will take part from Aughnacloy, Killyman, Summerisland, Primatial and East Tyrone.

Preceptories from Cavan and Monaghan will also be in attendance.

A total of 24 preceptories will take part in the west Tyrone demonstration in Donemana, where the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing will also be marked.

The Co Derry demonstration, in Limavady, will include 35 preceptories representing four districts in South Londonderry, City of Londonderry, Coleraine and Raphoe, Co Donegal.

And the City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter’s demonstration will be held in Ballymena, in keeping with the tradition for its members to parade in various provincial towns and cities.

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