There will be high hopes among those attending the Twelfth of July in Ballinamallard that history does repeat itself – as it has never rained when Ballinamallard has hosted the Twelfth!

This was one of a series of anecdotes from County Grand Master Mervyn Byers and Deputy Grand Master Norman Donaldson when they spoke to The Impartial Reporter last week in preparation for the County Fermanagh demonstration next Wednesday (July 12).

“Ballinamallard has never had a wet day yet; I have been telling everyone that it will be a good day, weather-wise,” said Mr. Byers, who is delighted to have this year’s Twelfth in his home town.

Fermanagh has always hosted a sizeable demonstration, with the Orange Order order predicting up to 65 bands will be on parade, and between 1,500 to 1,800 people on parade in Ballinamallard this week.

Speaking on Cancer Connect being selected as the chosen charity for the County Fermanagh Twelfth, Mr. Byers said: “I find that the work of Cancer Connect hits every household – we have lost a few brothers this year to cancer; every household gets hit by it.”

They were joined by Phil McGrenaghan of Cancer Connect NI, who feels privileged that the charity he founded with his wife, Breda, will be the chosen charity locally for this year’s Twelfth.

“It is a great honour for our charity to be asked to be the preferred charity for 2023. We have worked closely with the Orange Order and Orange lodges on many occasions; we have worked closely on repatriations back to home countries with lodges and other organisations.

“At Cancer Connect, we will work closely with anyone who will work with us.”

He added: “It is exciting from our perspective, and we are looking forward to a great day!”

Mr. Donaldson added: “When we chose our charity, we wanted to choose a charity that represents everybody.

“Cancer is something that hits every house; we are delighted that Cancer Connect has come on board – we think that the money that will be raised will stay in Fermanagh, and not go outside the county or indeed, outside the province, where this money I’m sure will benefit a lot of homes in Fermanagh.”

Both the Grand Master and his Deputy are keen to emphasise the family nature of the Twelfth this year.

“We have cartoon characters going out in front for the children, giving out flags and taking selfies.

“I had to ask my grandchildren who we need, so we have characters from ‘Hey Duggee’, ‘Bluey’ and ‘Chase’ from ‘Paw Patrol’ and ‘Cocomelon’ [a YouTube channel].”

Entertainment will follow the main parade to entertain the crowd while awaiting the return parade.

Mr. Donaldson added: “We also have Willie Drennan, a traditional Ulster Scots musician, coming after the parade and he will entertain the crowd while we are at the service in the field.”

Lodges and bands will move off at 11.45am from the assembly point at Ballinamallard United FC on the Enniskillen Road before proceeding along the approximate one-mile route through the village to the demonstration field on the Makenny Road.

The main proceedings will commence at 2pm, where the guest speaker will be Wor. Bro. Rev. Abraham Storey, County Grand Chaplain of Co. Cavan Grand Orange Lodge.

The return parade is due to begin at approximately 2.45pm.