The role played by members of the family of ‘Loyal Orders’ during the infamous and bloody opening day of the Battle of the Somme will be commemorated at a series of events in Ballymena.
As the 1st of July and the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme approaches the Loyal Orders, bands fraternity and local community groups have combined to host events remembering the battle and the sacrifices made by local people.
A packed schedule of events has been arranged and details are as follows:-
Friday, June 17:Somme Memorial Concert, Broughshane Community Centre at 7:30 pm.
Saturday June 18:Braid District LOL No 18 Parade and Drumhead Service, Assembles 7pm at Whinsmoor Park, Broughshane. Drumhead service at the field at the Buttermilk Bridge.
Sunday, June 19: Dedication of War Memorial, Kells. Assemble at football pitches, Liminary Road 2:30 pm.
Saturday, June 25: Dedication and parade of Ballykeel LOL 472 ‘Great War’ bannerette 1 pm at Protestant Hall. Unveiling by Worshipful Bro Tom Elliot MP and service by Worshipful Bro Rev Alastair Smyth. Historical talk by Des Blackadder.
Tuesday, June 28: Unveiling of Sergeant Quigg VC statue 11:45 am at Bushmills Main Street
Friday, July 1: Commemoration service and vigil at 07:10 Ballymena Memorial Park
Friday, July 1: Service of remembrance and vigil at 7:10 am at Connor Presbyterian Church
Friday, July 1: Re-enactment and vigil 07:10 am at ‘trenches’ at Buttermilk Bridge, Broughshane.
Friday, July 1: LOL 1123 Service of remembrance 7:15 am at Saint Patrick’s Church.
Friday, July 1: Opening and dedication of new arch by Ballymena District LOL No 8 at 7 pm at Salisbury Square
Friday, July 1: Ballymena District LOL No 8 Min 12th and Battle of the Somme Commemoration parade 7:30 pm at Wakehurst Road
Friday, July 1: Dedication of World War 1 mural by Ballykeel 1 Moving Forward Community Group at Tesco entrance, Crebilly Road. Dedication and service by Rev Martin McNeely.
A spokesperson added: “All groups involved are encouraging anybody who is participating or supporting events to wear a poppy in remembrance of the fallen.”
St. Patrick’s Church Temperance L.O.L. 1123 who will be hosting the 12th of July parade in Ballymena are staging a series of events running from 1st July to 12th July.
The Festival begins with a Somme Commemoration church service in St Patrick’s Church on Friday, July 1 at 7.15am. At 7.30am a whistle will be blown and a minute’s silence observed. The service will last approximately 30 minutes and everyone is welcome.
On Saturday, July 2 at 4pm a Somme Commemoration Drumming competition will take place at the Moat Bar, Harryville. The winner will receive a cup and £100 prize money. This is a joint venture with Ballymarlow Fife and Drum Club
The Sports Hut Fenaghy Road Cullybackey will be the venue for a Somme Commemoration five-aside football competition on the evenings of July 4 and 5 starting at 7pm. The winners will receive a cup
On Thursday, July 7 a ‘36th Ulster Division Commemoration Table Quiz’ will be held in the Services Club at 8pm. Supper will be provided and a cup will be presented to the winners.
The Services Club is the venue on Friday, July 8 for a talk on the local impact of the Somme battle which will be delivered by Des Blackadder at 8pm.
On Saturday July 9 there will be a trip to the Somme Museum in Newtownards followed by refreshments in Newtownards Orange Hall. The bus leaves at 11.30 am and further details can be had from any lodge member.
On Monday, July 11 11th the Lodge will hosting a barbecue and cultural evening in the Services Club commencing at 7.30pm. This is a joint venture with Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster F.B.
On Tuesday, July 12 the lodge will host the 12th Demonstration at a new venue in the Peoples Park