© Newtownards District No.4

Craigantlet men to lead The Twelfth

Each year a different lodge is given the honour of leading our district in the 12th July parade. The lodges rotate this honour in numerical order and this year is the turn of King George VI Memorial LOL 1973.

The lodge in the District with the highest number was due to head up the District in Greyabbey last year before the entire Twelfth celebrations were cancelled.

LOL 1973 retain the honour, despite a year’s delay, and with this year’s Twelfth involving only local lodges, the brethren from Craigantlet have gained an unexpected privilege of leading the entire parade through Newtownards.

LOL 1973 were formed in 1953 and with the lodge’s foundation coming just a year after the death of King George VI, the original members opted to name the lodge in memory of the late monarch. They further sought to maintain a link to the King, by opting to wear not orange sashes, but royal blue. When you see the lodge on parade this year, they will be the only one not donning orange colours.

Until recently, the lodge were the only one in Newtownards District to meet outside of the town itself, as they hold their meetings at their own hall in Craigantlet, halfway to Holywood.

At the head of the lodge ranks will be the bannerette which the lodge unfurled in 2016. King George VI features on the front, while the members sought to pay respect to the men of the 36th Ulster Division by having Helen’s Tower placed on the reverse.

Accompanying LOL 1973, and having the distinction of lead band, will be Portaferry Accordion Band. A mainstay of local parades for decades, the band were formed in 1941 and will be the only accordion band on parade at this year’s Twelfth. They will have the honour of bringing the official parade to a close with the National Anthem.