This year’s Sham Fight at Scarva is set to be the biggest ever

The Sham fight is one of the largest cultural events in the Northern Ireland calendar and more than 100,000 people are expected in Scarva on Monday, July 14.

The annual clash between King William and King James and the massive procession through the beautiful village, is now firmly established as a major tourist attraction.

This year the main invited guests will be senior representatives of the Presbyterian Church, the Church of Ireland and the Methodist Church. They will be joined by representatives of the Bible Society and Mission Aviation Fellowship.

The Institution’s 2014 charity appeal will support both organisations and the money raised will be used to send bibles to Christians in South Sudan and bring humanitarian aid to remote and hard to reach communities.

Millar Farr, Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, said he was delighted the institution was supporting the charities.

“It is a further extension of our Christian and charitable outreach. It will help us spread the message of the gospel, a core principal of our organisation. I have no doubt that the members of the Institution will really get behind this year’s charity appeal.”

The institution has built up a strong record in charity work and has raised more than half a million pounds in the past decade.

Mr Farr, continued: “The Sham Fight is a very special occasion every year, but we think 2014 will break all records. It is without doubt the biggest one day event, at a single location, in Northern Ireland.”

The procession leaves the assembly field on the Gilford Road at 11.15am. Tens of thousands of people will line the one mile route to the Demesne at the Loughbrickland end of the village.

Earlier in the day members of Scarva Royal Black Preceptory will lay a wreath at the village memorial to local members of the security forces who were murdered in the Troubles.

The organisation of the Sham Fight is the responsibility of Royal Black Perceptory 1000, whose 50 members work painstakingly to ensure that everything goes according to plan. Each year there are 4,000 members of the Royal Black Institution on parade, accompanied by about 90 bands. King William is played by John Adair, who has been in the role for 20 years and King James by Colin Cairns, who has 25 years’ experience as the defeated king. Both are members of RBP 1000. In all about 20 soldiers and four horses take part in the re-enactment.

At one time Ireland could boast of half a dozen Sham Fights however, all except Scarva have disappeared.