Police patrols set for town Orange parade

Don Middleton, Deputy Grand Master of England presenting Dale Parkyn, Worshipful Master of Harrogate 1685 with a warrant and lodge seal earlier this year, watched by Worshipful Imperial Grand Mast Ronnie Bather (S)
Don Middleton, Deputy Grand Master of England presenting Dale Parkyn, Worshipful Master of Harrogate 1685 with a warrant and lodge seal earlier this year, watched by Worshipful Imperial Grand Mast Ronnie Bather (S)
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Police hope to minimise the impact of next weekend’s controversial Orange Order walk by providing higher-visibility patrols in Harrogate.

The Harrogate Sons of William 1685 Lodge plans to parade through the town on Saturday, November 24.

You can vote whether you think the parade should go ahead in our poll to the right of this story.

Between 150-200 people are expected to join the group’s 11 members for the parade, which coincides with the Harrogate Christmas Market.

And although not directly providing support for the event, police will be on hand to deal with incidents on the day.

Insp Bruce Prendergast said: “Everyone has a right to freedom of speech and association which does not interfere with people’s right to go about their daily business.

“The police are not providing any direct police support for the event but we will be providing high-visibility patrols in the areas around the Christmas Market and the town centre to reassure the residents of Harrogate and to deal with any spontaneous incidents.

“We are not expecting any problems but officers will be on hand to respond to any incidents which occur.”

A request for the Lodge to change their route to quieter roads on safety grounds was refused.

Readers responded after we revealed the Lodge’s plans last week.

County Councillor Geoff Webber said: “I am aware of how the Orange Order has exacerbated sectarian divisions within the Northern Ireland community.

“That they will cause offence to the Roman Catholic community is admitted by planning the route to avoid Catholic churches and clubs.”

Dale Parkyn of Harrogate Sons of William said: “You have got to print these opinions.

“People are saying we shouldn’t be doing what we are doing, but it is a free country for us and for people to have an opinion.

“We are not here to deliberately upset people, and I am prepared to go to St Robert’s Catholic Church if they want to discuss what we are doing.”