VIDEO: Over 17,000 take part in Royal Black’s ‘last Saturday’

Upwards of 17,000 members of the Royal Black Institution were on parade yesterday at six locations across Northern Ireland today for the annual ‘Last Saturday’ demonstrations of August.

Approximately 350 preceptories, most accompanied by bands, took part in processions in Comber, Antrim, Castledawson, Lisburn, Omagh and Aughnacloy.

THUMBS UP: A young bandswoman greets a friend in the crowd at the Last saturday parade in Omagh. Pic: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

THUMBS UP: A young bandswoman greets a friend in the crowd at the Last saturday parade in Omagh. Pic: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr, who attended the Castledawson parade, said the Institution had been looking forward to the much-anticipated day in the parading calendar.

He said: “The ‘Last Saturday’ traditionally brings the curtain down on the Loyal Order parading season”.

The various demonstrations offer a wonderful spectacle of culture and pageantry, attended and enjoyed by large crowds at six different venues across the Province, he said.

“It has been a memorable and significant year for the Institution, perhaps most notable for our Christian ethos and our charitable outreach. We were delighted to present over £100,000 to Macmillan Cancer Support, with the substantive funds going towards a local aftercare scheme for prostate cancer patients. The Institution has also played a leading role in the ongoing commemorations in 2017 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.”

Sophie, Zac and Anabel Thompson take in the atmosphere at Aughnacloy. 
Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Sophie, Zac and Anabel Thompson take in the atmosphere at Aughnacloy. Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Mr Farr added: “I trust and pray the respective Last Saturday demonstrations will be wonderful and memorable occasions for all involved. I wish all Sir Knights, preceptories and districts – and our supporters – a fantastic day as we come together in Christian fellowship to celebrate our cultural heritage.”

City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter pictured stepping out at the Last Saturday demonstration in Lisburn. Pic: John Kelly.

City of Belfast Grand Black Chapter pictured stepping out at the Last Saturday demonstration in Lisburn. Pic: John Kelly.

Sir Knight Alan Donnelly with his sons Sam and Billy George in Antrim. Pic: Pacemaker.

Sir Knight Alan Donnelly with his sons Sam and Billy George in Antrim. Pic: Pacemaker.

Sophie, Zac and Anabel Thompson enjoying the atmosphere at Aughnalcoy today for the Royal Black parade. 
Pic: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL.

Sophie, Zac and Anabel Thompson enjoying the atmosphere at Aughnalcoy today for the Royal Black parade. Pic: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL.

Parading by the Royal Black today in Aughnacloy. 
Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Parading by the Royal Black today in Aughnacloy. Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Up to 80 preceptories and a similar number of bands will take part in the demonstration in Aughnacloy today. The large parade in the south Tyrone village, hosting a Last Saturday procession for the first time since 2006. Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Up to 80 preceptories and a similar number of bands will take part in the demonstration in Aughnacloy today. The large parade in the south Tyrone village, hosting a Last Saturday procession for the first time since 2006. Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL

Members of the Royal Black gathering in Aughnacloy today for the annual parade.  Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL.

Members of the Royal Black gathering in Aughnacloy today for the annual parade. Picture: Aidan O'Reilly Pacemaker Press INTL.