County Antrim Orange Lodges set for Somme commemoration event

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Orange lodges from across County Antrim are being asked to come together to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme with a Drumhead service in Antrim later this month.

The event on Saturday, May 28 will potentially see 227 Orange Lodges from the county’s 25 districts being represented at the event.

Worshipful County Grand Master, Worshipful Brother Robin Matthews, said: “As County Grand Master of County Antrim Grand Orange Lodge I would take this opportunity to remind Brethren and friends that we as members of the Orange Institution owe a great deal of gratitude to those men who left these shores and fought for our freedom 100 years ago.

“2016 is a significant milestone for those of us that are here, today, 100 years later, to attend this commemoration and to solemnly remember the sacrifices

made at The Battle of the Somme which began on Saturday, July 1 1916 and lasted till Saturday, November 18 1916.

“I would appeal for Brethren, and the public, to attend this commemoration parade and service in Antrim, to show solidarity with our forefathers and to show this generation that we cannot forget this particular period of our history all those years ago.”

The event on May 28 will commence with a parade, leaving from Antrim’s Founty Hill at 2pm.

The parade will form up as follows:

* Colour Party

* Sir George White Memorial Flute Band

* County Officers/Visiting Officers

* Junior Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland

* Ladies Orange Association

* Ulster Defenders of the Realm LOL 710/Pride of the Raven Flute Band

* Thiepval Memorial LOL 1916/Whiterock Flute Band

* East Antrim Combine

* South Antrim Combine inc. Hillsborough District

* North Antrim Combine

* Triangle – Ahoghill, Cullybackey & Portglenone Districts

* Ballymena District

* Braid District.

The parade will make its way through Antrim to Market Square, where a wreath will be layed at the Cenotaph.

The parade will continue through the Barbican Gate to the Castle Grounds where it will make its way to Antrim Stadium for the service at 3pm.

A Drumhead Alter will be formed in front of the Grandstand for the service.

At the conclusion of the service a short dedication of a Lambeg Drum will be performed in memory of the late Worshipful Brother John McGrath PM, Boyd Memorial LOL 312.

Following the service, which will last around 45 minutes, the parade will set off on the return journey from Antrim Stadium via the Lough Road, Dublin Road, Bridge Street, High Street, Church Street to Fountain Street.