East Belfast HCS McCurrie/Neil Memorial Parade - 26/06/09

This year the annual parade fell on Friday the 26th June as opposed to the 27th, the actual date of the murderous event. This was to prevent the Whiterock parade clashing on the other side of town.

This date, the 27th of June has once again become an even greater date in our countrys history as the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando have chosen to announce the handing over of weapons therefor deciding that the IRAs terror hold on this country is now over in their eyes. I personally would differ.

The very date rings alarm bells in all the wrong places. I am quite sure the McCurrie and Neill familys have to relive this on a daily basis. On this date years past the UVF, RHC and UDA formed to protect the people of East Belfast against a very violent republican terror campaign. Using this date throws up alot of questions.

That said, this year the parade was led by ourselves, indeed a great honour to do so. On a very hot night the bands paraded through the narrow streets of East Belfast, im very glad to say a good turout of bands and spectators also. 12 bands in total turned up to once again support the McCurrie and Neill memorial parade.

Here are clips of the band in action:

The parade passes the Thorndyke street wall mural which tells a great lot of Ulsters History including the plantation, the reformation, the war and murder. Also Cluan place, a picture card story on events both past and sadly still present. But again nothing can take away tonights main reason of rememberance, something that is burned into the minds of East Belfast people for years.

Bands present tonight were ourselves, North Down Defenders, Tullycarnet, Blues & Royals, Rising Sons East Belfast, Lord Carson Memorial, Lower Woodstock Ulster Scots, Crimson Star, Ballybeen Young Loyalists, UVF Regimental, Gertrude Star and Pride of the Raven. More or less the entire family of East Belfast bands on show tonight which is great to see.

The crowds also played their part tonight, larger than previous years past and very encouraging. The parade as usual finished at the Memorial garden where Rev. Gibson held a short but heart touching speech and indeed i should also mention the Lambeg drums from the Ravehill drumming school whom presented a brand new drum to the wife of the late Thomas Hutton, a member of the EBHCS, who helped build and promote this parade. He sadly past away a few years ago.

Thanks to everyone for supporting this parade and service, without your support it wouldnt be possible!

John Keenan
East Belfast Protestant Boys Flute Band Chairman