ORANGEMEN in Tobermore have changed the route of South Derry’s Twelfth of July parade for the first time in over 30 years.
The village demonstration, which will see thousands flock to the area for the official South Derry celebrations, will mean bands and participants will start off on the Maghera Road instead of the Desertmartin Road.
The change was passed by members of Tobermore District Lodge at a recent meeting and representation was made to Magherafelt District Council for permission to use it’s Golf Driving Range as an assembly point. It is not known exactly why the change was made, but a spokesperson for Tobermore District Lodge has told the MAIL it was down to “logistical reasons”.
The main parade will now be led from the Maghera Road by Garavgh District No.4 followed by Castledawson District No.1, Tamlaght O’Crilly District No.9, Kilrea District No.5, Magherafelt District No.3, Ballyronan District No.7, Moneymore District No.10 and Tobermore District No.11.
Bands will move onto Tobermore Main Street before entering the village’s demonstration field on the Draperstown Road.
Originally, the parade procession would have officially moved off from the Desertmartin Road onto Main Street and the Draperstown Road before finishing off on the village’s demonstration field.
Local DUP councillor for the area Anne Forde said that the change was made by local district officers, who expected a great day of celebrations.
Councillor Forde said: “It is the first time the parade has changed and I am not too sure why the Orangemen wanted to change it.”
“The parade would have previously started off on Millpark on the Desertmartin Road and now it will begin on the Maghera Road.
“I think the Orangemen wanted to try the driving range because its a good area for assembling. They approached the council about using the driving range and the council were happy to accommodate them. There’s no controversy around it, it’s up to the district lodge if they wanted to change it and they have. I myself was approached a as councillor and made representation to the council.”
Councillor Forde added: “We are all hoping for a great day and thousands are expected to attend. Tobermore has one of the best streets in the province to parade. On top of that we have various events leading up to the Twelfth celebrations including a family fun day in Millpark on July 7th from 12pm to 5pm, with a barbecue and fun activities. On July 5th at 7.30pm we also have an Ulster Scots concert at Tobermore Orange Hall with Kitty Archer, Joe Moore and Alistair Scott Ceili Band along with Cranny Pipe Band.”
Dr David Hume , the Orange Order’s Director of Services, said that although traditional routes were very important to those taking part, changes to parade processions made by local district lodges was not out of the ordinary.
He said: “Many people today are maybe third generation members of their own lodge and it carries an enormous weight that their great grandfathers walked that particular route that they have walked down. Some routes go back a considerable amount of time, maybe hundreds of years.”
“I don’t know the background to the Tobermore change but there might be a number of reasons as to why a route has changed. All I would say is that in a wider context a parade route can change for a variety of reasons.”
Confirming the route change, a spokesperson for Tobermore District spokesperson said: “For logistical reasons, local district officers in Tobermore have decided on this occasion that the Twelfth demonstration should proceed from the Maghera Road.”