“It’s been a great day so far and brilliant to see all the lodges and bands looking so well.”
Alistair McCracken was talking to the News Letter as he was on parade at the Twelfth demonstration in Gilford with his lodge, Magherabeg True Blues LOL 838.
Huge crowds lined the route through the village to witness the colour and pageantry of the biggest Twelfth in Co Down.
Temperatures for the outward parade were mild and despite menacing rain clouds overhead the bandsfolk and brethren enjoyed largely dry conditions.
Around 100 lodges and 80 bands made their way to the demonstration field on the Scarva Road - the new field having only been officially opened earlier this year by Gilford District following a special dedication ceremony.
It’s a day of family tradition for 20-year-old Alistair, who was stepping out in the lodge with his father, George, and grandfather Wesley. His uncle, Alan, is also a member.
“The support today has been terrific from the public - which is testament to the high standing which the Orange Order is still held in the Protestant/Unionist/Loyalist community.’
In line with Twelfth venues across the Province, the procession in Gilford paused for six minutes in protest at the Parades Commission.
For full report and pictures see Monday’s News Letter.