Historic day for East Antrim Combine in Randalstown

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Orangemen will be following in the footsteps of heroes at this year’s East Antrim Combine Twelfth in Randalstown.

On the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, parade participants will symbolically proceed to the town’s Dunmore Park which was used as a military training camp during the First World War.

Young local volunteers from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 14th Royal Irish Rifles were among those trained at the site, ahead of their deployment to the front line in France.

As well as the venue for a religious service following the main procession, part of the Shane’s Castle estate will also feature a special World War One exhibition on the day.

Organisers of the event, Staffordstown District LOL No 15, are hosting their first Twelfth in 10 years.

They will step out with eight other districts, encompassing approximately 70 private lodges. Adding to the spectacle will be over 50 marching bands.

Joining local brethren will be Orangemen and women representative of the neighbouring Larne, Sixmilewater, Antrim, Killead, Carrickfergus, Randalstown, Cloughfern and Carnmoney Districts.

The main parade will leave Shane Street at 11am and proceed through the town on its way to Dunmore Park.

A number of lodges will have new banners on parade, including Staffordstown LOL 704 and Hillstown LOL 176.

Their banners and the others will be carried under the Randalstown and Staffordstown United Districts Orange arch, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

The service at the field will be taken by Rev Robert Campbell. Also on the platform will be Jim McHarg, who is the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland.

The return parade is due to commence at 4pm.