THE COUNTDOWN is on as Cookstown prepares to host the Last Saturday demonstration this weekend.
Cookstown is one of the six host locations for the Last Saturday demonstrations this Saturday, 25th August, when members of the Royal Black Institution step out for what is traditionally the finale of the marching season.
The Royal Black Institution will hold parades in six locations across Northern Ireland on Saturday, with approximately 17,000 members of the Institution, from 390 preceptories, on parade in Cookstown, Belfast, Larne, Ballynahinch, Portrush and Plumbridge.
Seventy-two preceptories and a similar number of bands will take part in the demonstration in Cookstown, hosted by the East Tyrone Royal Black District Chapter.
The preceptories and bands will form up in the Assembly Field at Grange Road, at the south end of Cookstown, with the parade moving off at 12 noon.
Sir Knights and bands will parade via Grange Road, Tullywiggan Road, Church Street, Chapel Street, Loy Street, James Street, William Street, Oldtown Street, Milburn Street and Moneymore Road to the Demonstration Field.
The Districts represented will parade in the following order: Republic of Ireland, Fermanagh, Primatial, Summerisland , Killyman, Aughnacloy and East Tyrone.
It is expected that there will be 4,000 Sir Knights on parade, with thousands of spectators lining the route along Cookstown’s long and wide street to watch the very colourful and dignified parade.
The platform proceedings in the Demonstration Field will take the form of a Religious Service, beginning at at 2.30pm.
Wor Sir Knight Cuthbert Managh, East Tyrone District Master, will Chair the platform proceedings and the principal speaker will be the Rev Nigel Reid.
Police are advising of traffic arrangements for the Last Saturday in Cookstown.
Vehicles approaching Cookstown from the Moneymore direction will be diverted close to the end of the dual carriageway to Churchtown village and then into Cookstown and along Westland Road and o nto the Omagh road, before turning towards Sandholes for those wishing to travel towards Dungannon.
Traffic from Dungannon direction will follow the route in the opposite direction.
Suitable parking for those attending the event is located on Main Street and within the numerous free car parks around the town.
There will be opportunities at most of the venues for people to contribute to the Royal Black Charity Appeal for The Alzheimer’s Society.
In the past decade the Institution has raised £420,000 for a number of different charities and this year it has chosen to support the Alzheimer’s Society.
The Sovereign Grand Master Millar Farr, from Cookstown, said: “We are delighted to be associated with the Alzheimer’s Society and promote the excellent work they are doing. One in three people over the age of 65 will die with dementia.
“Hopefully the Royal Black Institution can raise a considerable amount of money this year to help fund research and education in this field.
“We would ask all our members and their families to support this very worthy cause.”