This year’s Twelfth will indeed be unique, never in living memory has a Twelfth not been marked with parades and other traditional events. It is painful for members to make this sort of sacrifice, and we wanted to speak to a few members to see what their thoughts were.

Everyone we spoke to appreciated the gravity of the situation and the reasons behind the the move and were willing to do things differently this year to help save lives. Many spoke about older members of their lodges and family members who were more at risk and how it was thinking of the consequences which helped them to agree not to organise events as they would normally.

One wit saw the bright side, and commented ‘at least we wont get wet this year!” To which his friend replied ‘sure its only ever the dew of the Boyne’. Perhaps he had missed the last year we did see rain in Portrush!

There was much excitement about the idea of a virtual Twelfth, and a feeling that the culture we celebrate is stronger and more resilient than even the Corona Pandemic. Given the family nature of many of our lodges there was a hope that if Northern Ireland adopted a ‘bubble’ approach that lodge and band members would be safe and allowed to gather at their halls in smaller numbers to mark the day.

Whatever the day brings people were determined to make the best of it and indeed the prevailing feeling was one of thankfulness that step the Order took to lock down early and well had ensured that no member had lost their life to the virus. There was a real appreciation for the NHS and other front line services and a sense of pride in the fundraising and support the Institution had given.