Ballygawley: intimate Twelfth gets World Cup fever

Councillor Frances Burton with Sidney Oliver, William Reid and Sandra Reid enjoying a sit-down in the field at Ballygawley
Councillor Frances Burton with Sidney Oliver, William Reid and Sandra Reid enjoying a sit-down in the field at Ballygawley

What the Orange Order branded “the most intimate” parade of the Twelfth took place in the village of Ballygawley, Co Tyrone, which this year had a special World Cup flavour.

In accordance with tradition, the Clogher Valley demonstration once again had a cross-border element with orange members from Monaghan travelling to join local Tyrone lodges for the big day.

Ian Graham and his daughter Jessie Mae enjoying a quiet moment before the parade begins in earnest

Ian Graham and his daughter Jessie Mae enjoying a quiet moment before the parade begins in earnest

Some 2000 people attended, with around 20 lodges representing three different orange districts – Annahoe, Fivemiletown and Truagh. Orangewoman and members of junior lodges also took part in the parade.

An order spokesman said: “The Clogher Valley parade is renowned for its family-friendly atmosphere and the wide variety of bands - pipe, silver, accordion and flute.”

This year the line up included Murley Silver Band, former all Ireland Brass Band Champions.

After the parading had finished for the day and bandsmen and orangemen were making their way home, Trevor Lockhart, District Master of Annahoe District LOL No 6, gave the News Letter a commentary of the demonstrations’ highlights.

Rev Trevor Boyd, who gave the address,with  Jim Patton, deputy district master and Tevor Lockhart, WDM Annahoe District

Rev Trevor Boyd, who gave the address,with Jim Patton, deputy district master and Tevor Lockhart, WDM Annahoe District

A light-hearted attraction in the field which drew large crowds was inspired by current events in the world of sport, he said.

“World Cup fever really came as far as Clogher Valley with a penalty kick shoot out competition.”

“I was runner up - I can’t remember the name of the guy who won it,” he laughed.

The competition was organised by Trevor Erskine who was also the goalkeeper, while ‘Bro RN Givan’ was the scorekeeper, he added.

David Brush, Christine Robinson, Victor Brush, Caroline Gervis and Lesley Hadden enjoying some well-earned tea and sandwiches

David Brush, Christine Robinson, Victor Brush, Caroline Gervis and Lesley Hadden enjoying some well-earned tea and sandwiches

“There were a huge number of spectators. It was a really lovely atmosphere.”

Among the senior Orangemen who attended the demonstration was County Tyrone Grand Master, Perry Reid.

In his address, Mr Reid told the field about his recent attendance at the Imperial Grand Orange Council of the World in Edinburgh, which he attended.

“In my address I referred to the legacy of our late Grand Secretary Drew Nelson.

Lilly Trotter couldn't have been happier on her first ever Twelfth

Lilly Trotter couldn't have been happier on her first ever Twelfth

“We had a couple of collections for his legacy fund so that anything we do in his memory will be fitting.”

Current proposals are to create student accommodation in Belfast and maybe at Magee College in Londonderry in his memory.

“As the lodges filed out of the field, Murley Silver Band and Glenageeragh Pipe Band massed together to entertain the crowds.

“It was fabulous weather and really good support along the route.

“It was the best Twelfth in many years.”

All members of the loyal orders who took part assembled at Ballygawley Presbyterian Church at 12.15pm and walked through the village to the new demonstration field on the Old Dungannon Road.

Representatives of various districts brought formal greetings from their members to the field, including Mark Robinson, District Master from Fivemiletown and Water Dudgeon District Master Truagh.

The guest speaker who delivered the religious address to those gathered in the field was Rev Trevor Boyd, who is also chaplain of Pomeroy District.

Organisers of the Clogher Valley Twelfth also produced a brochure to mark the centenary of Armistice, which focuses on local heroism in the days leading up to the end of the Great War.