Greengairs Thistle Radio

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Welcome to the Website of Greengairs Thistle Flute Band Scotland, the aim of this Website is to promote the Band and its Music all over the World. We have many followers throughout the World and as such our aim is to keep everyone up to date with our Music through our Media Channels within this Website,

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As Greengairs Thistle paraded to commemorate the Battle of the Somme last night we done so with the pride and dignity that has become the expected of our band , many fellow loyalists joined us either on the pavement or behind us in their various Somme Clubs and A.B.o.D colours .
We paraded with only two policemen to accompany us and without a single issue on the permit , no illegal standards , no illegal uniforms ,no arrests in fact no alcohol or anyone under the influence anywhere near the parade and wreath laying ceremony .

For 29 years Greengairs Thistle have carried the colours of the Ulster Volunteer Force and commemorated the Battle of the Somme , and subsequent battles those volunteers took part in be it on home or foreign soil . As it is well documented this brought us into dispute with the Orange Order and we have seen ourselves excluded from celebrating the Battle of the Boyne for a quarter of a century , during this time our one ray of hope was always the fact that the Apprentice Boys of Derry stood by us and allowed us to parade alongside them to commemorate the Siege of Derry , we will never forget the words of Ricky Dorwood , the Apprentice Boys will choose our own bands and not be dictated to by the Orange Order .

This is why we are at a point where we feel we have no other option than to appeal to the guys on the ground the ordinary members of the Apprentice Boys to take a minute and think what these new rules regarding size and dress of colour party will mean to bands like ours and in our own instance particularly Greengairs Thistle .
Since 2000 when the terror act suddenly made the standards we carried illegal we were faced with two options , keep the standards we had but face a constant battle to remain on the road , or renew our standards to fall within the law of the land , as it was quite obvious that the long war to rid bands like us from the public domain had stepped up a gear ,the standard issue was only a part of it , and the only side the wider public seen , the continual harassment at ferry terminals and airports of our members and the questions of what the band was about , who our friends were in Belfast , what the standards meant , who gave you them , is there money collected for organizations at your practice etc. This was the life Greengairs Thistle lived for daring to commemorate the deeds done by Carson's Army , and at that time the current day support for the loyalist prisoners and their families .

We became a Red Flag band at every event we attended , and for a while the obstacles put in our way had us thinking about stopping parading in our homeland and doing just NI parades we only done about five parades a year at that time anyway with two of them being A.B.o.D . The band had a few meetings and heated discussions and finally decided that by removing ourselves from parades in Scotland we were doing the work of those who would see us silenced for them , so we decided that we would purchase some more standards that kept us within the law but did not dilute our identity and foremost kept our commitment to the cause of the Ulster Volunteers past and present to the fore , whilst also allowing us to take part in the only mainstream loyalist parades we done with the A.B.o.D without placing that organisations members under any threat of legal action through our dress or standards at a parade as by this time the rules on permits had changed to the individual rather than the organisation .We even took ourselves out the May rally in Blackburn until the issue had been dealt with by the UVF Memorial Regimental Band Association that allowed us to parade with the new colours rather than parade and be banned.
Since that policy was adopted by the band we have spent over £7,000 on standards and bannerettes , added to that the period dress uniforms at the front to allow us to keep our presence as a regimental band of the Ulster Volunteer Force but also to fall the right side of the law .

In 2012 -13 we introduced a nursing corps to our colour party and also adopted the uniform of Carson's Volunteers , the very same volunteers who became that glorious Ulster Division who shouted the crimson cry of NO SURRENDER as they charged to their death and destruction , this once again caused a furore within certain circles , however over the past two years over 30,000 people have taken part in parades to honour these very men and women , many wearing the same dress as us for these centenary parades, many of them holding dual membership of Somme Clubs and Apprentice Boys Clubs . 

We have since been told that our colour party and its make up are the wrong image for the A.B.o.D , and that the size of it is being used to hide ''illegal' standards amongst the many legal ones on parade . the argument on legality is another issue but the fact that every band that carries standards in Scotland changes their colour party for the Orange Order or the A.B.o.D shows that there is an acceptance that some standards are going to cause problems at certain parades and are left rightly or wrongly in the band hall for these days . However the claim that we use it to hide illegal standards is a falsehood , not once since 2004 after a mix up at an Airdrie A.B.o.D parade (which was proven to be the fault of the club sec ) has our band carried anything that has brought the A.B.0.D into disrepute , not once have we parade drunk , drugged or anything less than immaculate in both dress and decorum , which is not just at A.B.o.D parades but every time we carry those standards in front of us . We have been told our Nurses don't fit the bill , we have been told our uniforms should be toned down , but have been given no reason for this other than it allows us to hide illegal standards on parade , in this the digital age it is easy for anyone to check back via YouTube or other video up-link channels to see this is not true .

And toned down to suit whose agenda we must ask ? 

We recently attended a meeting with the exec committee of the SAC in an attempt to put our case forward , but we were told the A.B.o.D is not our big day , that the Apprentice Boys were not our history , and that we need to follow the rules as we are the hired band on the day so will obey by the rules set down . We have followed these rules for 25 years , we have never broken them , we have never been booked by the police or A.B.o.D marshals at any single parade we have attended with the A.B.o.D and some like the Dumfries parade have been under heavy heavy scrutiny by the police and television news crews , but at every single event Greengairs Thistle have upheld the name of the gallant thirteen and those who march in their memory with pride and dignity .

When the law of the land changed , we adapted to keep our band on the road , as did most other bands . BUT these new rules being brought in are outwith the law of the land , outwith natural justice and can't be argued by us as we are not in the position as a band to have a say in Apprentice boys meetings , we went , we tried it fell on closed minds and ears , so we feel our last hope , and it is the last hope of us parading again in memory of the thirteen who started this whole glorious revolution that changed ALL of our history , is to appeal to you the guys behind the crimson collarettes to veto this rule when it is brought up for discussion at branch club level . The rule on size and dress of colour party will affect very very few bands at the May rally , possibly only Greengairs Thistle , and we will be left with the choice of leaving members at the side of the road or the full band at the side of the road , that is something we do not deserve and something we feel is akin to killing a fly with a sledgehammer . So we implore you to think this ruling through as it will leave our band at the start of another quarter of a century without participation in an event that is as much a part of our history as anyone elses' who takes to the streets as part of our marching tradition of commemoration.

Greengairs Thistle Flute Band .