Controversy over Protestant march
A PROTESTANT march took place at the weekend which ended with an effigy being burned in a field. Drums of the Luton and Bedford Browning Club and Apprentice Boys of Derry echoed around the streets of Stotfold on Saturday. The event celebrated the election
A PROTESTANT march took place at the weekend which ended with an effigy being burned in a field.
Drums of the Luton and Bedford Browning Club and Apprentice Boys of Derry echoed around the streets of Stotfold on Saturday.
The event celebrated the election of local resident John Roberts as the group's new president and the 318th anniversary of the shutting of the gates of Londonderry in 1688 which ignited the greatest siege in British history, the siege of Derry.
An effigy of Colonel Robert Lundy was also burned from a gallows after the march. Lundy, a governor of the city, attempted to persuade the inhabitants of Londonderry to surrender to the surrounding forces of King James II and was considered a traitor by the Protestants.
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Local people have complained about the parade saying Stotfold is not the place for such an event.
One woman told The Comet: "People should have been warned this was going on. Nobody told us. The first we knew about it was when the march started."
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Another said: "Marches like this have no place in a small town."
The town council also said it had not been informed about the march.
In the end almost 200 men and women of the Luton and Bedford Browning Club and Apprentice Boys of Derry marched, accompanied by their drummers, through the town with members coming from afar afield as Bootle on Merseyside, London, Corby, Luton and Bedford.
John McAdam, the provincial grand secretary of the Loyal Orange Order, said after the march: "We held the event last year in Stotfold and it is an ideal place to hold it. We will probably do it again in Stotfold next year.
"We talked to the police and had a number of meetings with them. I realise local people didn't know what was going on until they read it in a newspaper but there was nothing to worry about.
"The march was good natured, there was no hostility from onlookers and we provided our own marshalls to make sure there was no trouble.
"It was pleasing to see many local residents coming out to enjoy the spectacle and understanding the historical importance of the celebration."
After burning an effigy of Col Lundy in a field the large group held a reception at Stotfold Liberal Club.
Insp John Maries said: "We had a high police presence at the event but there were no incidents. The group kept us informed what was happening and we made the necessary preparations to deal with it.