City Orange honour the 1912 signatories
A FORMER Grand Master of the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge says it was a great privilege and pleasure for Orangemen from the city to take part in Saturday’s historic Ulster Covenant Commemoration in Belfast.
Past Grand Master Bro. Victor Wray said those who travelled would never forget the massive tribute to the men of 1912 and that he believed a parade of such magnitude would never be witnessed again in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to the Sentinel after taking part in Saturday’s parade, he commented: “It was with great privilege and pleasure that the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge travelled to Belfast to participate in the Covenant Parade on Saturday.
“There was a great turnout from the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge and from the rest of the counties within the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
“Everything went as planned and such was the turnout that it was taking five hours to parade from Sandy Row to Stormont. Everybody was very happy with how it passed.”
Referring to the criticism levelled at a minority of those participating in the event - including one bandsman who was pictured urinating against a wall - Bro. Wray said such incidents were isolated and almost impossible to guard against entirely.
“There were a few minor incidents, but with the size of the parade these things are very hard to control.
“A great day was had by all and the Londonderry brethren felt very privileged to be part of that.”
Dozens of bandsmen and Orangemen from the city took part in the huge parade from Belfast city centre to marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant in opposition to Home Rule in 1912.
Bro. Wray said the turnout was incredible and that those who took part would remember it always.
“There was a fantastic turnout. There were at least 40,000 people in Belfast on Saturday to celebrate 100 years from the Covenant,” he said.
“The parade was going into Stormont and it was still backed up as far as Sandy Row.”
The former City Grandmaster says he doubts he will ever see a demonstration of this size again.
“It will, I feel, be a one-off parade. I can never see there being another parade of such magnitude happening in Northern Ireland again,” he said. “The good thing about it was that there was no trouble. To be there and take part in this most historic event, those that did will always remember being there.”
Bro. Wray says the City of Londonderry Grand Orange Lodge now looks forward to hosting the Twelfth in the city during Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 and also to hosting a range of cultural events throughout the year.
“In the UK City of Culture 2013, the City of Londonderry Grand Lodge will be hosting the Twelfth in the city and hopefully will be holding a lot of events as well for the 2013,” he told the paper.
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Weather for Londonderry
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 30 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North