30 lodges set for Ballymena Twelfth

Herbie Mailey will be the guest speaker at the Ballymena Twelfth parade.
Herbie Mailey will be the guest speaker at the Ballymena Twelfth parade.

Upwards of 30 lodges and accompanying bands are set to take part in the annual Twelfth celebrations in Ballymena.

The town is the only one in Northern Ireland which has a Twelfth demonstration every year.

This year the honour of hosting the parade belongs to the members of 36th Ulster Division Memorial LOL 143.

Orangemen and 15 bands, accompanied by a number of Lambeg drums, will assemble at the car park behind the town’s fire station at 12.30pm, proceeding to the demonstration field at Wakehurst Playing fields.

The route will go via Waveney Road, Galgorm Road, the Pentagon, Lower Mill Street, Wellington Street, Ballymoney Street, William Street, Broughshane Street, Broadway, Church Street, Bridge Street, Harryville Bridge, Salisbury Square, Queen’s Street, Wakehurst Road and Brooke Park.

Among the lodges taking part in the parade – for the first time in over 40 years - will be Braidwater Purple Star LOL 512.

The lodge, which has over 30 members, was recently resurrected having been dormant.

Members will carry the original lodge banner which had been preserved.

The banner is unique in Orange circles in that it features King William III on both sides (typically only one side).

The guest speaker at the field will be the past Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Australia, Herbert Mailey.

Other senior Orangemen in attendance will include County Antrim Grand Master, Robin Matthews, and past Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Robert Saulters.

The return parade will leave the field at Wakehurst at 4.30pm.