SPECTATORS turned out in their thousands for the annual Co Down Twelfth parade which was this year held in Waringstown.

Eight districts took part, with over 90 lodges and around 40 bands parading from the assembly field at Dunkirk Road to the demonstration field at Clare Road.

Umbrellas were the order of the day, but only to shade spectators from the strong sunshine, and the usual sounds of pipes, drums and flutes were accompanied by children on vuvuzelas as they watched the march go by.

It was very much a family day with senior lodge members walking hand in hand with the youngest members on parade.

For three members of Derrydrummuck LOL 725 it was a particularly proud day as they were recognised just a week ago for their long service to the lodge.

Between them Jim Rogers, 69, James Porter, 79, and Aubrey McFadden, 82, have chalked up 180 years in the Orange Order.

Last week, Bro Rogers received a 52-year medal, while Bro Porter received a medal for 63 years membership and Bro McFadden for 65 years.
All three said they had rarely missed a Twelfth demonstration throughout the years.

Bro Porter said he had joined the lodge as a young man of 16 following in the footsteps of his father and brothers.

�I remember many years ago when the annual Twelfth came to an end we would meet at a private house and my father would have made corned beef sandwiches and handed out lemonade,� he said.

�Things have changed but I have enjoyed my time in the lodge and I have enjoyed life, too.�

Meanwhile, three members of LOL 21 Gideons Chosen Few were honoured on the Twelfth morning when they each received 50-year long service medals. They were Ronnie Browne and brothers Jimmy and Ian Hawthorne.

And it was a family affair for the Fegan family brothers Raymond, Gordon, Trevor and Mervyn who were marching with LOL 21 with their father Thomas who has been a lodge member for 66 years and has rarely missed a parade.

The main speaker in the demonstration field was Bro Drew Nelson, Grand Secretary of the Grand Orange Lodge.

After the short religious service and a chance to rest weary feet and enjoy a welcome cuppa, the parade left the field shortly before 4pm to make its return journey through the town and home.

Dont fear change, Order is told
ORANGE Order Grand Secretary Drew Nelson said the initial reaction by the authorities to Orangeism after its formation at the Diamond in Co Armagh in 1795 was to suppress it.

�We overcame that early hurdle and here we are again celebrating the Twelfth in Waringstown 214 years later, �he told lodge members gathered in the south Down village..

�Since that first Twelfth in 1796 the Orange institution has had to overcome many hurdles. There have been momentous events, the 1798 Rebellion, the Act of Union, two world wars, the formation of Northern Ireland and during this last generation the simultaneous challenges of terrorist attack and relentless change in society.

�During the IRA terror campaign since 1969, 339 of our members have been murdered and about 300 of our halls have been burnt.

�It is difficult to understand why the republican movement saw the Orange Order as such a threat that they had to murder so many of our members and burn so many of our halls.

�But I want to talk today about the challenges faced by the institution going forward. Society is continually and relentlessly changing and these changes pose both a threat to and an opportunity for the institution.�

Mr Nelson added: �The young men who we want to join today have grown up in a very different world to the one I grew up in.

�Anyone under 20 cannot remember the Claudy massacre, the La Mon, Kingsmill, Warrenpoint, Tullyvallen, Bloody Friday, Enniskillen and Darkley massacres. They have not felt the effects of the terrorist campaign in the same way as many of us here today.

�But there are other changes in society, which have a bearing on our relevance to potential recruits.

�The young men we want to join are the mobile phone generation, the computer generation, the technology generation.

�If we are to remain relevant then we as an institution have to change the way we do things or we run the risk of appearing irrelevant to this new generation. The threat is that we become irrelevant and slowly wither away.

�But the opportunity is that we can change to accommodate the new generation and so successfully pass on the torch of Orangeism to them.�
Mr Nelson said he was making it clear that when he talked about change he meant about how they did things, not why we did them.

�The institution must adhere to its two guiding and foundation principles of Protestantism and fraternalism. Unfortunately, there are those in our institution who find it difficult, indeed impossible, to contemplate any degree of change whatsoever.

�Every large organisation, which values its heritage, has got members who are resistant to change. In our case in particular we carry a burden of history which makes moving forward more difficult than most.�

Published date on the 13th of July 2010
Article taken from the The News Letter