Belfast Telegraph

'Last Saturday' parades bring the curtain down on marching season

By Staff Reporter

More than 20,000 Sir Knights of the Royal Black Preceptory accompanied by hundreds of marching bands stepped out at the weekend for this summer's Last Saturday demonstrations.

The parade, which traditionally marks the end of the season, saw six towns and cities across Northern Ireland host an estimated 350 preceptories of men neatly turned out for the day.

The largest display took place in Comber, Co Down, where 5,000 Sir Knights were on parade.

The parade included the Institution's largest preceptory - Elijah's Chosen Few RBP 208 from Mourne District - which has more than 250 members.

Antrim, Castledawson, Lisburn, Omagh and Aughnacloy were the other venues to host parades.

Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr took part in the procession at Castledawson and gave the main address at the field.

As well as affirming the Lord Order's three resolutions, Mr Farr went on to pay tribute to the contribution of the Duke of Edinburgh following his recent retirement.

"The Duke of Edinburgh saw active service during the Second World War in the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, founded the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme which has helped young people in 141 countries and is patron, president or a member of 785 different organisations. In addition, he has carried out over 22,000 solo engagements and made almost 5,500 speeches," he told those assembled.

"Just recently at the age of 96 he has indicated his intention to step back from the public scene."

He added on the Duke and Queen: "Today, we give thanks for the service given and the example set by both and it is our hope and prayer they will be blessed with health and strength to enjoy life for many years to come."

Those who died in some of the major 1917 battles of the First World War were also remembered in this centenary year.

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