Apprentice Boys disinvite loyalists to Londonderry for relief parade over Covid fears

The Apprentice Boys have cancelled the organisation’s invitation to loyalists outside Londonderry city to the annual relief parade.

Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 10:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 10:30 am
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/04/2019
The Apprentice Boys annual Easter Monday parade in east Belfast
PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/04/2019 The Apprentice Boys annual Easter Monday parade in east Belfast

The organisation nonetheless intends to press ahead with commemorations, albeit by Londonderry members alone.

To do otherwise ould be “selfish”, the organisation said.

The Apprentice Boys’ message reads, in full:

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It is with regret that General Committee has reluctantly taken the decision to cancel the usual invite to branch clubs and bands to attend the celebrations in Londonderry on the August 14, 2021.

As the United Kingdom struggles to overcome the ongoing virus, and the death and illness it has caused amongst all communities, it would be selfish of general committee to expect our members and friends to travel to the Maiden City for the customary celebrations.

We are reminded that we all have a part to play in keeping others safe. Bringing thousands to the streets of Londonderry in current circumstances would be irresponsible.

We do however request our members to commemorate the loss and sacrifice of the besieged, and all those who have given their all for civil and religious liberty in dignified acts of remembrance, across the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and further afield.

Here in the Maiden City, the Apprentice Boys will maintain the customs associated with the Relief of Londonderry Commemorations by fulfilling the following traditions.

Friday August 13:

Midnight – firing of the ceremonial cannon on Grand Parade followed by the symbolic act of the shutting of the four original gates into the old walled city.

Saturday August 14:

8.15am – siege standards raised on the Walker Memorial Plinth at Royal Bastion

10.00am – opening of general committee.

10.50am – parent clubs and bands assemble on city walls and Society Street

11.00am – Gen. comm. officers, colour party, parent clubs and bands parade circumference of the walls

11.30am – Wreath–laying service at the Cenotaph

12.30pm – Commencement of main celebratory parade, commencing at Society Street, following the usual route to the Waterside area and return to the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall

There will be a 20-minute break at Irish Street estate; refreshments will be available at the Orange Hall in the estate prior to returning the colours to the memorial hall.

The officers and members of general committee wish all our brethren good health and God’s blessing as we remember the bravery and fortitude of those besieged inside the walls of Londonderry, recalling the ultimate joy they found in gaining release from their confinement.

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