Belfast Telegraph

'Soldier F' row band won't be parading at Relief of Derry event

Clyde Valley Flute Band supporting Soldier F earlier this year
Clyde Valley Flute Band supporting Soldier F earlier this year
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

A flute band that caused controversy by wearing a 'Soldier F' emblem during an Apprentice Boys parade in Londonderry will not take part in next month's Shutting of the Gates commemorations.

The Clyde Valley Flute Band will instead be the sole band participating in a parade in Rathcoole on December 7, according to the Parades Commission website. It states that the procession "will not be travelling to another town or place".

Governor of the Apprentice Boys Graham Stenhouse would not be drawn on the matter. However, the website appears to confirm the band will be in Belfast.

The band caused anger among nationalists after its members marched in the Apprentice Boys parade wearing the emblem.

Soldier F, a former member of the Parachute Regiment, is accused of two counts of murder and four of attempted murder on Bloody Sunday.

Efforts to restore relations in Derry have been ongoing since the August row.

As recently as Tuesday night members of the Apprentice Boys met with the Bloody Sunday Trust to discuss the upcoming parade that will bring thousands of members, bands and spectators to the city on December 7.

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The Apprentice Boys said further discussions with a series of groups including the Bloody Sunday Trust will take place in the run-up to the Shutting of the Gates commemoration.

The Apprentice Boys said: "It is important for dialogue to continue to maintain a climate of respect for all traditions in the city."

Trust chairman Tony Doherty said: "The Bloody Sunday Trust warmly welcomes the statement from the Apprentice Boys of Derry regarding the Relief of Derry Celebrations in December and their commitment to keep working positively and in collaboration with others to promote respect for diversity within the city, region and beyond. We look forward to a peaceful and respectful event on December 7."

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