It hardly seems a year since last years parade, time goes by very quickly and we started the day off by meeting at the Longfellows Bar to parade to Cherryville Street to the Ulster Volunteer Force War Memorial garden to lay wreaths on behalf of East Belfast Ulster Volunteer Force.
Indeed it was a great honour to be asked to do this in the 90th year of the anniversary of the battle of the Somme. A large crowd had gathered to watch this event happening and all week our colour party has been practicing for this as itís a tricky marching and discipline display but well done to our colour party members involved on carrying this out to a very high degree of ability.
Once this ceremony was over we then headed off to a great applause from the large crowd to meet up with our local Orange Order lodge. We arrived at the Royal British Legion club in Sydenham to pick up the local lodge Sydenham LOL 1361. it was great to see the lodge decked out in new shirts and ties as well as a colour party of young boys whom looked the part in front of our band.
We marshalled up about 6:30PM and headed to meet the main parade, it was a very hot night and many bands and lodges were in short sleeves on a parade that was about 4-miles long in distance.
I was able to see Pride of Laganvalley, Gertrude Star, Ballybeen Young Loyalists and I was also glad to see a blast from the past in the Rathcoole KAI after being off the road for a number of years, it was good to see them back and playing very well. So well done to the KAI.
As usual large numbers of crowds had gathered to flock East Belfast and its has got the name of being one of the best turned out parade in the country, and last night it seemed even bigger than normal and Iím sure thatís due to it being held on a Saturday but lets hope Iím wrong and next year its an even bigger turnout.
Below are a selection of photographs of the whole parade.
The parade made it usual way past the Short Strand were a large Police presence and a number of the usual people came out on a hot summers night to be offended by our culture. I am glad to say that everything went off peacefully so I am being to think that they actual like our parade as they never fail to miss them!
All along the route of the Somme parade crowds where encouraging the many bands and Orangemen and this always helps to make the long parade that much easier, the parade twisted its way around East Belfast and I thought the pace was good not to fast and this helped us in the ever increasing heat.
My own band played very well last night and the entire route we kept up a good selection of tunes to entertain the crowds, good parade, good people and a very good night for the whole family to come out and watch.
Tonight we paraded with 19 side drummers, 33 fluters, 3 bass drummers, 4 cymbal boys, 2 side marshals, a drum major and a colour party of 9! This was another first for having 9 flags on parade so many thanks to everyone for coming and supporting the band but also showing their support for a very memorable anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Below are a selection of photographs of the band in action.