Castlederg Young Loyalists

FLUTE BAND

Castlederg Young Loyalists Flute Band was formed in 1977, prior to their formation there had been an Accordion  band which was associated with the local lodge Bridgetown No Surrender LOL 379 and the local preceptory Castlederg Chosen Few No: 556.  In early 1977  A meeting was held in Bridgetown Orange hall by the members of  LOL 379 they wanted to disband the Accordion Band and start a new Flute Band as the up keep of the Accordions were so expensive. The meeting was attended by members of the lodge and members of the accordion band. It was agreed that a flute band would be formed to replace the accordion band. Two of the lodge members who are now deceased had a central role in helping to get the band formed namely Billy Donnell and Bob McKinley (pictured). An advert was placed in the local papers seeking members and the response was overwhelming. Omagh Protestant Boys Flute Band were approached and asked if some of their members would be prepared to come to Castlederg and teach the new band and they kindly agreed to this request and the two bands have had a great friendship ever since. The new Flute Band Named Castlederg Young Loyalists were dedicated in October 1977.  Castlederg Young Loyalists are now in their 35th year marching and parading in a town that had the reputation  as the most bombed town in Northern Ireland and was very stressful for the band. During the troubles the band had four members murdered. The band has paraded in the capital city of London with the apprentice boys during the protest over the changing of the name Londonderry to Derry, In 1984 the band travelled to Scotland for the twelth of July celebrations for the first time and have been going over every year since’ they also go over to play at concerts for lodges and bands etc, and have formed a great bond of friendship with their Scottish brethren. At home the band travels all over the six counties including the Republic of Ireland supporting other bands as well as attending the main loyal order parades. It also attends a lot of indoor battle of the bands competitions which it has had great success in’ fighting off competition from some of the best bands in Northern Ireland. On the 2nd sat in November every year the members of the Castlederg Young Loyalists cycle form Castlederg to Portrush which is approx 75 miles for Children in need. In 2007 the band celebrated its 30th anniversary and released a 30th anniversary cd. They also formed a cyl auld boys band which seen some of its former members joining up again. The auld boys band now parade every year at the Castlederg young Loyalists annual parade. In 2009 the author Darach McDonald followed the Castlederg Young Loyalists to all the parades they went to for the year as he wrote the book "Blood and Thunder inside an Ulster Protestant Band" the book was launched in June 2010 in Omagh library’ in the first two weeks the book reached the number one best seller in Northern Ireland. The band now is one of the most respected bands in Northern Ireland.