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Thousands expected at Royal Black’s Last Saturday demonstration in Cookstown

Recently-elected Sovereign Grand Master to be principal speaker at Co Tyrone demonstration

The local Last Saturday demonstration will be held this year in Cookstown, bringing to an end the traditional marching season.

It is one of six locations which will see some 17,000 members of the Royal Black Institution on parade on Saturday, August 26.

Approximately 350 preceptories, most accompanied by bands, will take part in separate processions in Newtownards, Larne, Ballymena, Cookstown, Donemana and Limavady.

Sovereign Grand Master, Rev William Anderson, who will attend the Cookstown parade, said the Institution was looking forward to the much-anticipated day in the parading calendar.

He said: “The ‘Last Saturday’ is rightly regarded as one of the flagship events of the annual parading season and we are once again expecting another glorious day of spectacle and pageantry, enjoyed by tens of thousands at six different venues across the Province.

“The large numbers of spectators in attendance and success of this year’s Sham Fight at Scarva, and the recent County Fermanagh demonstration, underline the enduring appeal and relevance of the Royal Black Institution.

“We look forward to enhancing our outreach to the wider community through the development of our new headquarters in Co Armagh, which will open to the public in 2020.”

At Cookstown, Sir Knights will step out on one of the longest and widest main streets in Ireland for the largest demonstration in Co Tyrone.

For Rev William Anderson, it will be the clergyman’s first Last Saturday in the senior role, having been elected in June.

Up to 70 preceptories and a similar number of bands will take part in the Cookstown parade, which will be led by Tullylagan Pipe Band.

Five districts representing south and east Tyrone and north Armagh will take part from Aughnacloy, Killyman, Summerisland, Primatial and East Tyrone. Preceptories from Cavan and Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland will also be in attendance.

The main parade will commence at 12 noon from Grange Road and proceed via Tullywiggan Road, Killymoon Street, through the town centre to the demonstration field on the Moneymore Road.

The platform proceedings will start at 2.30pm with Rev Anderson being the principal speaker.

The service of worship will be conducted by Rev Robert Boyd, while the preacher is Rev Dr David Murphy.

Rev Anderson is looking forward to the occasion.

“I trust and pray the respective parades will be wonderful and memorable occasions for all involved,” he added.

“I wish all Sir Knights, preceptories and districts – and our supporters – a fantastic day as we come together in Christian fellowship to celebrate our cultural heritage.”

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