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Ballymena band set to celebrate 40th Anniversary with parade this weekend


A local Ballymena band is set to celebrate 40 years after it was formed, with a special anniversary parade and competition to be held in the town this weekend.

Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster (BLSOU) was formed in 1982 and has seen many young men and women find a place and purpose in its ranks over the years, enjoying the opportunity to learn an instrument while forming lifelong friendships founded on their common interests.


The band on their first Twelfth Day, photographed at the Ballykeel 1 shops 1983.


On Friday night, 20 May, the band will be walking the estates in the Ballykeel area starting at 7:30pm. Organisers have invited young people from the local community to join the march along with their band poles!


A spokesperson for BLSOU commented:


“The Crebilly Road is well decorated and we hope to see the people of Ballykeel out on Friday to help us celebrate 40 years of the band.”


Band members will also be performing a few tunes at 3pm on Saturday (21 May) at Harmony Hub, in the Broadway area of Ballymena.

At 6:30pm on Saturday evening, the ‘Ballykeel Auld Boys’ will join the present-day band, marching from Broadway Avenue, through Harryville, to the main parade starting point at Waveney Road.


Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster will continue on the main parade route at 7pm, accompanied by the Orange Order, Royal Black Institution and Apprentice Boys, who have all supported the band throughout the years.

Longtime band member and local councillor, Rodney Quigley said:


“It is great to see Ballykeel Loyal Sons of Ulster flute band reaching their 40th anniversary.


“As a member myself, I know the hard work that has gone in to running the band throughout the years and the commitment shown by so many involved in promoting the marching bands culture in a positive manner.


“I hope everyone will come out on Saturday to show the band their support on what will be a great line up of bands from across the province."


The main parade will set off at 8pm on Saturday evening from Waveney Road and will walk the following route:


Waveney Road - Galgorm Road - Lower Mill Street - Wellington Street - Ballymoney Street - William Street - Broughshane Street - Broadway - Church Street - Bridge Street - Harryville Bridge- Salisbury Square - Henry Street - Larne Street - Paradise Avenue - Douglas Terrace - Queen Street - Salisbury Square - Harryville Bridge - Waveney Road.

Organisers are expecting around 40-50 bands taking part on Saturday evening and the parade is anticipated to be finished by 11pm.