Overcast skies greeted the first Black Saturday demonstration in Londonderry for six years.
It was perfect ‘marching weather’ for the Sir Knights who travelled to the City from Co Londonderry and neighbouring counties.
In all there were over 3,000 Sir Knights taking part from South Derry, Coleraine, Donegal and Macosquin.
Local Preceptories formed up at Bonds Street, may Street and paraded to meet fellow Sir Knights at Artillery Street at 1.15pm, when the main demonstration started.
The marchers followed a route around the city centre, taking in Carlisle Road, Ferryquay Street, The Diamond, London Street and The Fountain, Kennedy Street, Wapping Lane and across Craigavon Bridge to the Waterside. There they paraded along Spencer Road, Clooney Terrace, Limavady Road and into Walton park, where the demonstration took place.
This included a religious service in the field, officiated over by Sir knight Joseph Andrews. The Sir Knights enjoyed refreshments and social time together before they reformed for the return parade at 3.45pm.
They paraded to Limavady Road where No 2 District opened ranks to allow the visitors to pass through, and return to their buses for the return journey home, departing from Glendermott Road.
The Waterside preceptories turned off at Union Street, dispersing in Bonds Street, for home. Meanwhile, Royal black Preceptory 113 returned to the Cityside accompanied by Churchill Flute Band, where they paraded to Britannia Hall, dispersing at Society Street.
Unfortunately the rain marred the return parade, just as the Sir Knights left the demonstration field.
Sir Knight, Victor Wray, of RBP 113, praised everyone involved: “The parade was very peaceful and passed off without incident.”
“We want to thank the organisers of the parade within the RBP, as well as the members of the City Centre Initiative for their co-operation, and the traders and PSNI for working with us to help create such a successful event.
“The RBP also thank the various churches for their support on Saturday last in the field, particularly those who came out on a blustery day to provide the Sir Knights with hot drinks and food,” said Sir Knight Wray.
“It was great to welcome all the Sir Knights back to the city after an absence of six years and it was good to learn that the visitors made it home safely,” he said.