Young Orangemen were praised for their dedication as they braved the elements to take part in Belfast Junior County Lodge’s annual parade yesterday.
This year’s Easter Tuesday event took place in Larne, with the sizeable turn out giving organiser Noel Liggett a “pleasant surprise”.
Mr Liggett – secretary of the Belfast Junior County Lodge – said: “The highlight for me was just getting the event on. When we left Belfast this morning the weather was so bad. When we got off the bus in Larne I was genuinely surprised and pleased at how many were out. When you’ve weather like that you sometimes get a lot of cry-offs.
“I think the kids have to be congratulated for having that dedication.
“There was a very good crowd in Larne considering the weather. I thought we might have been walking empty streets.”
He added: “I’d say we’d around 500 or 600 taking part which isn’t bad considering it was absolutely lashing when we left Belfast.
“The age range is from seven to 18 though we’d probably have more in the younger age group than the older age group.
“It’s fair to say everyone who took part was soaked.
“You just have to go with it. The one thing you can never control is the weather.
“This is the worst weather I can remember since we had to cancel Ballyclare in ‘97 or ‘98 because of snow.
“There was no way we’d have called it off today. There was a lot of rain but you just have to go with it.
“I think everyone had a good day.”
Mr Liggett said the lodge has welcomed visitors from Scotland and England who will be taking part in a conference with the junior movement today and tomorrow.
The visitors will be taken to sites of special significance to the Orange Order including Dan Winter’s Cottage in Loughgall where the Orange Order was formed.