PEOPLE in Ballymena and Antrim have been urged to take part in ‘lockdown’ 12th celebrations - in their own homes and gardens.
The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland last week formally announced its plans to celebrate the 330th anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.
With traditional Twelfth of July demonstrations cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Orange Institution has instead laid on plans for a ‘12th at Home’.
A four-day programme will run from Friday, 10th of July, through to Monday, 13th of July and will take place under a simple mantra - celebrate the day online, in your home or at your door.
Grand Master Most Wor. Bro. Edward Stevenson has appointed Deputy Grand Master Wor. Bro Harold Henning to oversee events.
Bro. Henning commented: “Just because our parades and gatherings may be cancelled – the 2020 Twelfth isn’t! King William’s momentous and symbolic victory at the Boyne 330 years ago will most certainly still be celebrated and commemorated in a number of ways by the Orange family.”
There will be a wide range of activities and resources available on the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland website - goli.org.uk/12thathome - specially designed to ensure all members of the Orange Family can enjoy the long weekend.
The cornerstone of this special celebration will be ‘Radio Boyne’ featuring four days of digital broadcasting which can be accessed through the Grand Lodge website (goli.org.uk/radioboyne) when it goes live on the 10th July. It is anticipated that a range of guest interviews, music, news and history programming will be featured.
The broad focus will be on activities for all the family. A section has been created on the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland website with colouring, crafts, recipes and other ideas to help make your ‘12th at Home’ a success.
The traditional elements of the Twelfth of July demonstrations, including the reading of the resolutions and the religious service will be broadcast online, both through Facebook and the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland’s YouTube channel. Acts of remembrance, such as laying wreaths, will also be covered.
The Grand Chaplains will be preparing a special prayer to be read out on the day. There will also be a Boyne Annual Divine Service online on Sunday, 12th of July.
The Deputy Grand Master has encouraged families to start planning for their ‘12th at Home’ now.
“Our challenge is to ensure this Twelfth is marked in style; online, in your home, at your door, with families and neighbours. Together we can make it a fun-filled, extra-special - socially distanced 12th - that will be talked about for years,” he explained.
“The Grand Lodge website seeks to support and resource the Boyne Anniversary Celebrations. There is something for everyone: craft and colouring pages for the young and recipes for your 11th night Barbecue.
“So, begin by planning to suitably decorate your home, street, village or town - fly the flag, proudly and respectfully. Encourage children and grandchildren to watch our craft videos and create Orange Lilies and bunting or brush up your history by reading about William’s Generals.”
Bro. Henning also highlighted the need for all celebrations to respect and adhere to the social distancing guidelines in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
He added: “During our celebrations let us be mindful that the priority in 2020 is to look after everyone’s health this Twelfth as we continue the battle against Coronavirus. Please ensure you comply with the lockdown regulations in existence over the period.”