THE County Armagh Twelfth demonstration will be held in Newtownhamilton, when a total of 11 District Lodges will be on parade, representing 154 private Lodges and almost 5,000 brethren.
In addition, ladies from the Women’s Institution will be present, along with several Junior Boys and Junior Girls Lodges.
Approximately 80 bands of every type will accompany the Lodges with some of the best pipe, accordion, silver and flute bands in the Province stepping out on parade. Also, as the “County of the Diamond” is renowned for the Lambeg drum, dozens will be accompanying the brethren, especially if the weather is favourable.
The Armagh demonstration typically attracts upwards of 20,000 spectators, with visitors from County Monaghan and County Cavan expected.
There will be at least three new banners on parade for the first time this year, namely those being carried by Hamiltonsbawn LOL 47, Richhill District; Salters Grange LOL 36, Loughgall District; and Armaghbreague LOL 153, Newtownhamilton District.
The County Armagh Twelfth goes round the Districts in an 11-year cycle and this year it is the turn of Newtownhamilton District LOL No 9 in South Armagh to host the celebrations.
This District Lodge has 10 private Lodges (including Knocknanin LOL 1158 in Co Monaghan) and over 300 brethren, with nine bands, and they have been planning for the big event for over a year.
Led by their Worshipful District Master, Jim Copeland, who is also the County Grand Treasurer, the Newtownhamilton brethren are looking forward to hosting the parade for the first time since 2002. To mark the event, they have produced a special souvenir Twelfth booklet.
Prior to the main proceedings of the day, the local brethren will hold a short Memorial Service and wreath laying at 8.45am in the King George VI Memorial Orange Hall to remember those brethren from the District killed during the Troubles.
The Lodges of the District will then move off from the Hall on Castleblaney Street at 9.15am and proceed to Newry Road, to await the arrival of the first of the visiting Districts from 9.30am onwards. The main parade, led by Synott’s True Blues Flute Band, is to commence at 10am, led by the County Grand Lodge Officers and visiting brethren.
Newtownhamilton District will be followed by Richhill, Killylea, Keady, Portadown, Lurgan and Armagh Districts. The remaining Districts – Markethill, Bessbrook, Tandragee and Loughgall – will parade as they arrive, and by 1pm, all Districts should be in the Demonstration Field.
The parade route is: Newry Road – The Commons – Armagh Street – Castleblaney Street – Old Road – Demonstration Field. There are car parks provided close to the Demonstration Field and limited parking for those with a disability at The Commons.
The field is located off the Old Road, and all the usual stalls and food vendors will be there, along with church tents selling tea and sandwiches. There will be activities for children and as always impromptu band and Lambeg drum rehearsals.
The Chair will be taken at 1.45pm by the County Grand Master, Denis J Watson JP, and proceedings will commence with the traditional religious service, conducted by Rev Dr Alan McCann, County Grand Chaplain. The Act of Remembrance will be undertaken by Rev Maurice Laverty, Deputy County Grand Chaplains, and the address will be given by Rev Nigel Reid, Deputy Grand Chaplain, and Minister of Mountnorris and Tullyallen Presbyterian Church.
During the proceedings, a collection will be taken up for this year’s Grand Master’s Charity Appeal, in aid of the Christian Institute.
After the service, the Twelfth Resolutions will be proposed and passed. The platform proceedings will conclude with the customary Resolution of Thanks, introduced by the Deputy County Grand Master, Joseph Campbell, who will also present the County Shield for the Best Band on parade.
The return parade is scheduled to leave the demonstration field at 3pm, with Lurgan District LOL No 6 being the first to leave. As is the tradition, the County Grand Lodge Officers and visitors will be accompanied at the head of the parade by the host District Lodge Officers. The parade route will be the reverse of the morning route and the County Officers will review the parade at an appropriate point.
A number of pre-Twelfth activities have been organised this year. On Tuesday, July 9, at 7pm, a Family Fun Night will be held in the Demonstration Field, encompassing a “Past, Present and Future” theme.