50 Apprentice Boys members make journey to Maiden City

Members of the Baker Club of the Apprentice Boys pictured in Clounagh Orange Hall before setting off for Londonderry on Saturday.
Members of the Baker Club of the Apprentice Boys pictured in Clounagh Orange Hall before setting off for Londonderry on Saturday.

Around 50 Portadown members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABOD) made the journey to the Maiden City of Londonderry last Saturday for the annual ‘Shutting of the Gates’ service in St Columb’s Cathedral.

The Baker Club, based at Clounagh Orange Hall, and the Portadown ABOD Club (Carleton Street) paraded through the town at 8.30am accompanied by Blackscull Orange and Blue Flute Band and by Clonmeen Sons of William from Killylea.

They went by bus from Edenderry to join with the 31 bands and 1,500 Apprentice Boys for another peaceful day in Londonderry, with the parent group there having made a working arrangement with the local community, erasing the confrontations of the past.

The highlight is the annual service in the cathedral where it was standing room only as the Dean, the Very Rev W.W. Morton conducted the service.

The annual December event marks the stand taken in 1688 by the 13 Apprentice Boys who shut the Gates of Derry to the advancing army, which led to the siege and the eventual breaking of the boom by the Mountjoy.

The Portadown Club returned to town at around 7pm, again led through the town by the bands, with Baker returning to Clounagh Orange Hall and the Portadown Branch to Carleton Street.