Orange Order brethren from the Larne District No. 1 travelled to Randalstown on Tuesday, July 12 for the annual East Antrim Combine parade.
Thousands of people lined the streets for the Twelfth demonstration, which this year had special significance, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Hosts Staffordstown District No. 15 were delighted to welcome brethren, bandsmen and supporters to this year’s parade.
Speaking to the Times, Worshipful District Master Darren Richardson said: “Our main objective was to celebrate two significant anniversaries, the more significant in our calendar being the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, where so many brethren and indeed ordinary folk from Northern Ireland lost their lives. Every year we have the Battle of the Boyne celebrations, but this year we wanted to do an outreach programme to the people in Randalstown. This was successfully launched in May in local schools as well as educational visits to Conlig. This year we’re proud to be supporting Chest, Heart and Stroke and we will have collection points around the town throughout the day. The charity is very close to our hearts in Staffordstown District. I hope that everyone has an enjoyable day.”
The other districts taking part in the parade were Randalstown No. 22, Carrickfergus No. 19, Sixmilewater No. 10, Antrim No. 13, Killead No. 17, Cloughfern No. 24 and Carnmoney No. 25. There were 68 lodges in total, with over 60 bands taking part in the procession. This was the first time the Twelfth had been held in Randalstown since 2011 and the first time Staffordstown District had hosted the parade since 2006.
The lodges, bands and supporters were treated to a dry day, adding to the carnival atmosphere. Traditional aspects were maintained, with a number of lambeg drummers taking part in the parade. The crowds were also entertained by flute bands, pipe bands and accordion bands.
The Times understands a fight broke out during the return leg of the event, resulting in the parade being delayed for a short time. Superintendent Emma Bond said: “Police are aware of a minor disturbance. Two men have been treated for cuts at the scene. Enquiries into the matter are ongoing.”