Veteran Orangeman celebrates 70 years in Order

Senior members of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution at Rasharkin on the twelfth. From left: Cyril Glass, Alan McLean, James Doherty, James McClure, Mervyn Storey, Nat Storey and Uel Campbell.INBM29-12 224JC
Senior members of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution at Rasharkin on the twelfth. From left: Cyril Glass, Alan McLean, James Doherty, James McClure, Mervyn Storey, Nat Storey and Uel Campbell.INBM29-12 224JC

ONE of the most respected members of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution celebrated his 70th Twelfth demonstration in Rasharkin on Thursday.

Bro. James McClure, a member of Ballinagarvey Lodge, is now in his 80’s but says he is as committed as ever to the Institution of which he is a Past Imperial Grand Master.

The veteran member has clear memories of his first ever Twelfth in the early 1940’s which was held in Ballymoney.

He has seldom missed on ever since and enjoyed many congratulations from fellow Orangemen in the field in Rasharkin.

Brilliant sunshine greeted the dozen or so bands and as many Lodges whose parade was overseen by a large number of police officers in the mainly nationalist village.

Brethren were hoping for a trouble free day - similar to when they last paraded the village in 2009.

However, an earlier feeder parade involving the local Ballymaconnelly band, who were on their way to the North Antrim combine event in Cloughmills, witnessed an incident with local protesters which police described as minor.

The Independent parade once had as its top speaker, former North Antrim MP, Rev. Ian Paisley, but he has long since been absent from the demonstration and Thursday’s demonstration took the form of a Devotional Service conducted by Bro. Rev. David McConaghie.

Also on the platform was the Imperial Grand Master, Bro. Alan McLean, as well as the County Grand Secretary, Bro. William Fenton.

North Antrim MLA, BVro. Mervyn Storey, was also on the platform party.