A loyalist flute band in Lisburn has an impressive new recruit – an Irish Wolfhound.
Taking inspiration from the Royal Irish Regiment, whose regimental mascot is a wolfhound called Brian Boru IX, The Pride of Knockmore had been on the lookout for such a dog to act as its own mascot on major parades.
Band member Mervyn Adams set about finding one, and finally came across Shirley Scott in Irvinestown, who was delighted to let one of her two Irish Wolfhounds go on parade with the Lisburn band.
Mrs Scott, who has a long family history with the British Army, said she was honoured to be asked by the band to use four year-old Tullagh as their mascot.
Tullagh’s first outing with the band was at a Remembrance Parade in Lisburn earlier this month, which was particularly poignant for Mrs Scott, as her father had been killed during the Second World War.
“My father, Geoffrey Ernest Sullivan Proes, was commissioned in the Royal Artillery, serving with his regiment in Shanghai in the 1920s and then in Hong Kong,” she said.
“My mother, brother and myself were evacuated to Australia in May 1941 and my father stayed behind.
“He was killed during the first week of the Japanese invasion when he went to investigate the explosions.”
Mrs Scott, her mother and brother remained in Australia during the war, before beginning the long journey to the UK.
Eventually the young family came to Northern Ireland in 1947, where Mrs Scott has remained ever since.
Her new home was particularly appropriate as her grandfather, Douglas Wilfred Churcher, served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers before and during the Siege of Ladysmith in the Second Boer War
Later he commanded the regiment in England and then in France in 1914.
His name is inscribed on one of the pews in the Regimental Chapel of Armagh Cathedral and some of his military memorabilia is held in the Armagh Museum.
With such a strong military background, Mrs Scott said she had been delighted to let Tullagh become the mascot for the Pride of Knockmore on Remembrance Day.