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Orange Order announces plans for Twelfth celebrations at home

The annual July 12 parades have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Bandsmen and Orange Order members take part in a previous Orange Order parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

Bandsmen and Orange Order members take part in a previous Orange Order parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

Bandsmen and Orange Order members take part in a previous Orange Order parade in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Orange Order has announced plans to celebrate July 12 at home this year.

The annual parades marking King William III’s victory over James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Orange Order has announced a four-day virtual event from Friday July 12 to Monday July 13 to “celebrate the day online, in your home or at your door” in compliance with social distancing rules.

This will include digital broadcasts on Radio Boyne, accessed through the institution’s website, along with crafts and recipes and an online reading of the resolutions and special prayers.

There will also be a special online service on Sunday July 12.

Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning has encouraged members and supporters to start planning to celebrate at home.

“Just because our parades and gatherings may be cancelled – the 2020 Twelfth isn’t,” Mr Henning said.

“King William’s momentous and symbolic victory at the Boyne 330 years ago will most certainly still be celebrated and commemorated in a number of ways by the Orange family.

“Our challenge is to ensure this Twelfth is marked in style; online, in your home, at your door, with families and neighbours. Together we can make it a fun-filled, extra-special – socially distanced 12th – that will be talked about for years.

“So, begin by planning to suitably decorate your home, street, village or town – fly the flag, proudly and respectfully. Encourage children and grandchildren to watch our craft videos and create Orange Lilies and bunting or brush up your history by reading about William’s generals.”

Mr Henning also urged respect and adherence to social distancing guidelines.

“During our celebrations let us be mindful that the priority in 2020 is to look after everyone’s health this Twelfth as we continue the battle against coronavirus,” he said.

“Please ensure you comply with the lockdown regulations in existence over the period.”

PA