East Antrim Twelfth: Somme Centenary marked in Randalstown

Bands and brethren enjoying the Twelfth in Randalstown. INNT 28-816CON
Bands and brethren enjoying the Twelfth in Randalstown. INNT 28-816CON

Orange Order brethren from districts across East Antrim travelled to Randalstown on Tuesday, July 12 for the annual parade.

Thousands of people lined the streets for the Twelfth demonstration, which this year had special significance, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

Hosts Staffordstown District No. 15 were delighted to welcome brethren, bandsmen and supporters to this year’s parade.

Worshipful District Master Darren Richardson said: “Our main objective was to celebrate two significant anniversaries, the more significant in our calendar being the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, where so many brethren and indeed ordinary folk from Northern Ireland lost their lives. Every year we have the Battle of the Boyne celebrations, but this year we wanted to do an outreach programme to the people in Randalstown. This was successfully launched in May in local schools as well as educational visits to Conlig. This year we’re proud to be supporting Chest, Heart and Stroke and we will have collection points around the town throughout the day. The charity is very close to our hearts in Staffordstown District. I hope that the weather stays good and that everyone has an enjoyable day in Randalstown.”

The other districts taking part in the parade were Carnmoney District No. 25, Cloughfern District No. 24, Sixmilewater District No. 10 Randalstown No. 22, Larne No. 1, Antrim No. 13, Killead No. 17 and Carrickfergus No. 19.

There were 68 lodges in total, with over 60 bands taking part in the procession. This was the first time the Twelfth had been held in Randalstown since 2011 and the first time Staffordstown District had hosted the parade since 2006.

Traditional aspects were maintained, with a number of lambeg drummers taking part in the parade. The crowds were also entertained by music from flute bands, pipe bands and accordion bands.

The Times understands that a fight broke out during the return leg of the event, resulting in the parade being delayed for a short time. Superintendent Emma Bond said: “Police are aware of a minor disturbance. Two men have been treated for cuts at the scene. Enquiries into the matter are ongoing.”