THE Royal Black Institution will hold six main parades at locations across Northern Ireland on Saturday in what is traditionally a highly dignified marching event.
Seventeen-thousand members of the Institution, from 390 preceptories, will parade behind 350 bands in Ballynahinch, Larne, Cookstown, Belfast, Portrush and Plumbridge.
Preceptories and bands from the Republic’s border counties of Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, along with Scottish contingents, will also take part.
There will be opportunities at most of the venues for people to contribute to the Royal Black charity appeal for the Alzheimer’s Society.
In the past decade the Institution has raised £420,000 for a number of different charities and this year it has chosen to support the Alzheimer’s Society.
The Institution’s Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr said: “We are delighted to be associated with the Alzheimer’s Society and promote the excellent work they are doing. One in three people over the age of 65 will die with dementia.
“Hopefully, the Royal Black Institution can raise a considerable amount of money this year to help fund research and education in this field. We would ask all our members and their families to support this very worthy cause.”
The various demonstrations are taking place at:
THE biggest demonstration of the day will be in the mid-Down town where 5,000 members of the Royal Black Institution will parade.
A total of 113 preceptories and more than 100 bands will take part with 13 Co Down districts represented – Lower Iveagh, Lecale, Castlewellan, Newry, Banbridge, Rathfriland, Mourne, Largymore, Comber, Newtownards, Saintfield, Bangor and Ballynahinch.
Several Scottish preceptories will join the ranks and up to a dozen Co Armagh bands are engaged to head the Co Down preceptories.
A crowd of up to 30,000 is expected to watch the parade, which was last held in Ballynahinch in 1999.
Earlier this year, a flagship Twelfth demonstration was held in the town.
The assembly points will be at Langley Road and Magheraknock Road and demonstration field at Belfast Road. The route will cover the main town centre and car parking will be available at Ballynahinch High School playing fields.
Platform proceedings will begin at 3pm and will be chaired by Colin Whiteside, the County Grand Master of Down.
EIGHTY preceptories and 78 bands will be a feature of the Co Antrim demonstration.
The 5,000-strong parade will assemble at Bridge Street at 12.30pm and proceed through the town centre to Sandy Bay Playing Fields.
The preceptories will consist of six districts – Lisburn, Ballymena, Antrim, Larne, Ballymoney and Ballyclare.
Platform proceedings will begin at 3pm under the chairmanship of Paul Gregg, the Larne District Master.
The preacher at the service of worship will be the Rev Robert Campbell, Grand Chaplain, Co Antrim.
The demonstration was last held in Larne in 2006.
SEVENTY-two preceptories and a similar number of bands will make up the Cookstown demonstration.
The parade of 4,000 marchers begins at noon and proceeds through the town centre to the demonstration field at Moneymore Road.
Preceptories from counties Monaghan, Cavan and Fermanagh will join the contingents from Primatial City (Armagh), Summerisland (Loughgall), Killyman (Dungannon), Aughnacloy and east Tyrone districts.
The platform proceedings begin at 2.30pm and the chairman will be Cuthbert Managh, East Tyrone District Master. The principal speaker will be the Rev Nigel Reid.
THE City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter demonstration will be held in the city for the first time ever.
Previously, the Belfast parade was held in various provincial towns.
A drumhead service will be held in Denmark Street off the Crumlin Road at 10.30am when the Belfast Grand Master William Mawhinney will be the principal speaker.
The service of worship will be conducted by the Rev Malcolm Anderson.
The parade will move off at 11am and the procession route will be Clifton Street, Donegall Street, Royal Avenue, Donegall Place, Donegall Square North, City Hall, Chichester Street, Victoria Street, High Street, Bridge Street, Waring Street, Lower Donegall Street, Royal Avenue, North Street, Peter’s Hill, Shankill Road, Lanark Way, Mayo Street and Ainsworth Avenue.
The parade will stop at St Anne’s Cathedral, where a wreath will be laid at the tomb of unionist leader Lord Edward Carson.
A total of 63 preceptories from seven Belfast districts will be on parade. They will be accompanied by 33 bands, a number of them from Scotland.
THE demonstration in Portrush will have 36 preceptories and 34 bands representing Raphoe (Co Donegal), South Londonderry, City of Londonderry and Coleraine (the hosts) districts.
The parade was last held in Portrush in 1987.
The parade begins at noon and will proceed via Eglinton Street, Kerr Street, Ramore Avenue, Landsdown Road, Bath Street, Main Street and Causeway Street to the demonstration field.
Platform proceedings begin at 2pm and the chairman will be Ivan Kelly, County Grand Master of Londonderry. The principal speaker will be Robert Dane, the assistant Sovereign Grand Master.
The crowds in Portrush for the demonstration are expected to be swelled by holiday-makers staying in the popular north Antrim coastal resort.
THE Last Saturday demonstration will be held in the north Tyrone village for the first time since 1958.
There will be approximately 1,000 RBP members on parade, in 24 preceptories, and accompanied by 22 bands. The parade starts at 1pm and will proceed via Glenelly Road, Main Street and Ligford Road to the demonstration field. Districts represented will be Strabane, Castlederg and Omagh.
The chairman at the platform proceedings will be Stanley McFarland, the Omagh District Master. The service of worship will be conducted by the Rev Ivan Dinsmore and the guest speaker will be the Institution’s Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr.