THE Royal Black Institution will hold a “Local Last Saturday” this year, bringing a colourful parade of Sir Knights, banners and bands to a city, town or village near you!
Traditionally, the “Last Saturday” demonstrations involve upwards of 17,000 members of the Institution on parade with accompanying bands at six locations across Northern Ireland.
However, with Covid-19 still in circulation, the Institution’s flagship day – which is due to take place this year on Saturday, August 28 – has been organised on a more localised basis, with a greater number of smaller processions.
For the second year in a row, all plans for larger demonstrations have been put on hold as the Institution continues to play a constructive role in the battle against coronavirus.
Instead, around 350 preceptories, most accompanied by bands, will take part in 28 separate, smaller, local parades, organised at District level.
Each of the “Local Last Saturday” parades will involve a short religious service – and will also be an opportunity for participants and supporters to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Northern Ireland.
The Royal Black Institution has urged everyone attending a parade to comply with Covid-19 health regulations and guidance, and must follow the directions given by police and event marshals at all times.
Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson, who will be joining with Sir Knights in Desertmartin on the day, said: “I am really looking forward to our ‘Local Last Saturday’ parades this year.
“Throughout this terrible pandemic, the Royal Black Institution has played a responsible role, cancelling meetings and processions in a bid to help curtail the spread of the virus.
“As a civic-minded and Christian organisation, many of our members played active roles in helping the sick and shielding.
“Last year, our ‘Last Saturday’ demonstrations were cancelled, and the day was marked with wreath-laying events at war memorials, or drive-in services.
“We know that Covid is still with us, but thankfully the improved circumstances this year will allow us to have ‘Local Last Saturday’ parades.
“Admittedly, they will not be the large-scale events we are used to. However, considering the tumultuous and, at times, dispiriting last 18 months, I am sure these local parades will bring huge joy to participants and spectators alike as we witness for the Reformed Christian Faith and celebrate the centenary of our beloved country.
“I would encourage everyone going to a parade to play their part by ensuring that their conduct helps to look after their own health and the health of others - and we look forward to the full return of our traditional ‘Last Saturday’ parades in 2022.”
List of ‘Local Last Saturday’ parades:
Lisburn Royal Black District Chapter No 1
Procession leaves Wallace Park at 12 noon to parade the city. There will be a Service of Worship and Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, following which the parade returns to Wallace Park.
Ballymena RBDC No 2
Service of Worship at Ballee Playing Fields at 11.45am, then parade through Ballymena town at 12.30pm.
Antrim RBDC No 3
Following a feeder parade from Muckamore, there will be a Service of Worship and wreath-laying ceremony at the Cenotaph in Antrim at 11.30am. A parade of Antrim town centre by the entire District follows at 12.30pm.
Larne RBDC No 4
Act of Remembrance at Cenotaph with short Service of Worship at 12 noon, followed immediately by parade through Larne town.
Ballymoney RBDC No 5
Service of Worship at 11.30am at War Memorial in Ballymoney followed by parade at 12.30pm around the town and back to the Orange Hall.
Ballyclare RBDC No 6
Service of Worship at 12 noon, followed by parade around Ballyclare at 12.30pm, including an Act of Remembrance at War Memorial.
Primatial RBDC No 4
Act of Remembrance at Black Memorial, Armagh Orange Hall, at 10am. Service of Worship at 11am at Kennedies Road, Killylea, followed by parade around the village.
Summerisland RBDC No 6
Act of Remembrance at Loughgall War Memorial at 11.30am, followed by parade through the village to Demonstration Field for Service of Worship and return at 2.30pm.
The City Grand Chapter and Sandy Row District No 3 leave Sandy Row Orange Hall at 10am. All Districts meet at Belfast City Hall at 10.45am. The Act of Remembrance at the Cenotaph will take place at 11am. The Procession will commence at 11.30am towards Botanic Gardens, returning to Great Victoria Street to disperse.
Lower Iveagh RBDC No 1
Service of Worship at 11.20am at Dromore Orange Hall followed by a parade of the town.
Lecale RBDC No 2 & Castlewellan RBDC No 3
Service of Worship in Clough at 12 noon followed by a parade of the village, in which both Lecale and Castlewellan Districts will participate.
Newry RBDC No 4
Parade leaves Downshire Road, Newry, at 10.30am for Orange Centennial Fields. Service of Worship in fields at 12 noon and return parade to Downshire Road at 1pm.
Ballynahinch RBDC No 5
Parade around the town of Ballynahinch commencing at 11am at the Orange Hall with a Service of Worship on Belfast Road.
Banbridge RBDC No 6
Parade around Banbridge town at 11.15am.
Rathfriland RBDC No 7
Parade around Rathfriland town commencing at 11am and laying a wreath at the War Memorial. On return to the District Field there will be a short Service of Worship.
Mourne RBDC No 8
The District meets for an Act of Worship at 7pm at Mourne Esplanade, Kilkeel. This will be followed by a parade around Kilkeel, returning to Mourne Esplanade.
Largymore RBDC No 9
Meets in Barbour Playing Fields, Lisburn, for Service of Worship at 11.15am, followed by parade in Lisburn City, including the laying of a wreath at the War Memorial, returning to the Barbour Playing Fields.
Comber RBDC No 10
There will be a Service of Worship at 11.30am at Comber Orange Hall, followed by a parade around the town.
Newtownards RBDC No 11
Parade around Newtownards at 12 noon.
Saintfield RBDC No 12
A Service of Worship will be held in the Church Car Park, Comber Road, Ballygowan, at 11am, followed by a parade around the village of Ballygowan at 12 noon, returning to the Church Car Park.
Bangor RBDC No 13
A Service of Worship will be held at 11am in the grounds of Bangor Town Hall. This will include the unfurling of a new banner for RBP 784 and will be followed by a parade around the town centre, returning to the Town Hall.
Coleraine RBDC No 1
The District will meet at Killowen Orange Hall, Coleraine, at 11am for a Service of Worship and Act of Remembrance. Following this there will be a parade around the town centre at 11.30am. On arrival at Bridge Street, the District will divide, with some dispersing at Union Street and others at Killowen Street.
City of Londonderry RBDC No 2
Parade will leave Shanreagh Crossroads at 12 noon for parade to Limavady Orange field. A wreath will be left at Limavady War memorial and then parade will begin. The service will commence at 1.15pm and conclude at 2pm. After proceedings in the Orange field, the parade will reform at 2.15pm for parade to dispersal point.
South Londonderry RBDC No 4
Parade will be held in Desertmartin, moving off at 11.30am from field on Moneymore Road, and going through village for a service at 12.30pm. Guest speaker is Sovereign Grand Master Rev William Anderson, assisted by Rev Nigel Kane. Return parades leaves at 1.30pm.
Killyman RBDC No 1
There will be a Service of Worship in Lord Northland Memorial Park, Dungannon, at 12 noon, followed by a parade around the town centre of Dungannon at 1pm, returning to Lord Northland Memorial Park.
Aughnacloy RBDC No 3
There will be a Service of Worship in the grounds of Aughnacloy College at 12 noon, followed by a parade around Aughnacloy, returning to the College Grounds.
East Tyrone RBDC No 5
There will be a Service of Worship at 12 noon at Cameron’s Hill, followed immediately by a parade into Cookstown to Derryloran Parish Church and return to Cameron’s Hill.
Castlederg RBDC No 6
Castlederg District will be joined at their Demonstration by Strabane District No 2 and Omagh District No 4, as well as some guests from Co Fermanagh. They will meet at 11.30am for a Service of Worship at 12.30pm in the Orange Field, followed by a parade of the town centre, returning to the Orange Field to disperse.