THE weekend Covenant parade and commemoration at Stormont was a day in the charge of local man Dr David Hume, who is Director of Services of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland.
The Magheramorne Orangeman was the project leader for the Stormont family day on Saturday, and was head of an enthusiastic team of staff and volunteers who helped bring the event to fruition.
He said this week the event was “totally awesome” and a humbling experience.
“One of many memorable moments was leading the Orangemen and bands from across the border through the estate and hearing the applause they received,” he said.
“Their forefathers also signed the Ulster Covenant in 1912, but they did not get to retain their British citizenship, so their presence brought a strong sense of an emotional and cultural bond that had not been broken by the border.
“It was also great to see Larne District coming through even though I did not get the chance to parade with them on Saturday and also to have the Mounthill Drumming Club present among the contingent of Lambeg drums on the estate.”
Dr Hume said that the Stormont event came about through several years of planning.
“We knew it would be a major event and had meetings every month with estate management at Stormont. A project team was built up and everyone played their part well, both our hard-working staff and volunteers.
“The weather was one of our concerns because of the impact a rainy day would have had on the grounds of the estate, but thankfully, despite a few scattered showers, things brightened up for an excellent day.”
He admitted, however, being surprised at the scale of the parade that arrived at Stormont.
“We kept getting messages from the city centre that many had not even left, while the head of the parade was coming along the Prince of Wales Avenue, so we knew there was a massive turnout of Loyal Orders and bands.
“We had to start the platform proceedings before everyone was in the grounds because Belfast County wanted to make sure their parade had gone along Donegall Street prior to the mass at St Patrick’s Church being due to start, and the sight of their banners leaving towards Massey Avenue was complemented by the sight of banners still entering the gates of Stormont.”
He added: “Even when the platform proceedings were over, the Districts from Fermanagh and Tyrone and the Independent Order were still arriving. It was amazing.”