Over the years we have built up a strong relationship with Junior and many other members of the Regimental band. In my own opinion they are the best band in Belfast and there improvement in recent years is as a result of the huge effort the members have made.

The increase in their numbers has given the band new life this year and we look forward to welcoming them back to Kilkeel for their annual visit to our own parade and competition on the First Friday evening in August.

The standard of bands at this parade was particularly high. The Regimental band themselves set the standard and the pace, but their were many impressive displays from those following.

Sons of William Cookstown in their distinctive Orange jackets caught my eye, as did Fifes and Drum Shore road and again the 'Prod Boys' who appeared to have half the population of East Belfast in their ranks.

Strain and Lightbody Memorial from Newtownards caught my attention as they paraded up My lady's Road, Lisburn Young Defenders were going well too. How good it is to see them doing so many parades this year.

Another band that I hadn't seen for a long time was the Ballee Blues and Royals from Ballymena. They were absolutely outstanding, and we were able to enjoy their music during the breaks in the parade as they were directly behind us. They are another band who have been threatening to visit us for our own parade. Hopefully this year they will make the trip.

Joining the strong contingent of Northern Ireland bands were 2 visiting from Glasgow. Greengairs Thistle and the excellent Blackskull from Glasgow.

We paraded with 9 in the colour party, Craig returned to lead us for the day (It was his wedding anniversary and wasn't allowed out on Friday night), we had 11 drummers, Cutter and Willie John on Bass Drum and Cymbals and 25 fluters.

The weather was glorious, the streets were lined with spectators, all in all a fantastic day and a parade that we always enjoy. As Wayne Hanna mentioned to me during the break halfway round the route "Belfast has become a second home to the Young Defenders".

We made our traditional stop for the crowds outside the Great Eastern on the corner of Dee Street. The Drum salute went down a treat, especially when we moved out into the arrowhead formation. I've never seen as many camera phones being pointed in the same direction at any one time.

There were 5 awards up for grabs on the day and we were lucky enough to pick up 3 of them including the prize for best Overall band for the 4th year in a row.

Best Melody Band: Mourne Young Defenders
Best Blood and Thunder band: East Belfast Prod Boys
Best Style and Appearance: Mourne Young Defenders
Best Visiting Band: Greengairs Thistle Glasgow
Best Overall band: Mourne Young Defenders