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Ulster is British Soil webmaster

MY NAME is Philip and I am a 24 year old Protestant from East Belfast. Over the past year (2003) I have found myself attending at least one band parade a week or even two or three depending on the times of the parades! This is strange for me. In the past I would only attend the big parades like the Twelfth, Black Saturday and Scarva. Iíd also attend just a few local parades that would be happening around my area.

One of the reasons for attending so many parades is because Iím the webmaster of Ulster is British soil. You can find it at: www.uibs.co.uk It was launched on the 22nd August 2002 and has had a great response from viewers! Just over a year from the launch and I have over 16,000 hits to the site. Some people have commented on that this is the best loyalist web site on the net! I feel really pleased and very happy that all my hard work has got the recognition of the Protestant people who have viewed it.

My site has a vast amount of information relating to Protestantism. It also has many areas to view. I could talk about it for ages but I think viewing the site would be better!

An area on my site has been dedicated to Band Parades that I attend. Here Iíve lots of photographs that Iíve taken at parades. They are available for anybody to view. I have been getting a lot of praise from bandsmen and women that view the photographs. The majority of them ask for their respective bands photographs so they can upload them to their own bands web sites.

What motivated me to start up the Ulster is British soil web site? The main reason was my anger and disgust at seeing Protestants and Loyalists always receiving bad publicity from the Media and the mass increase of Sinn Fein/IRA propaganda against Protestants.

Being an East Belfast lad all my life I have been brought up with the Protestant culture of Ulster bands parading down the Templemore Avenue onto the Newtownards Roads! And I can always remember the excitement that I had when I heard the sounds of the drums and the flute playing. Itís a fantastic sound and one that will always make my heart flutter till the die that I die!

Now that Sinn Fein/IRA have got their way with the formation of the much hated Parades Commission, it seems that they have the first choice where and when a parade can take place. They even have the nerve to tell the Bandsmen what roads and streets they are allowed on!

Iím not in any kind of Ulster band. Iím more of a follower or watcher. To be honest I donít have time to contend with all the marches and the practicing. I must say I have the full respect for members of the bands. They are fully committed to their lives as bandsmen.

I would mostly follow the Blood and Thunder scene for band parades. However, I do like the Melody bands and Pipe bands. They both add an extra variety to any band parade.

My favourite band would be the East Belfast Protestant Boys. They are the most famous Blood and Thunder band in the Northern Ireland and indeed the world! I love their motto: No-One Likes Us, We don't Care! I think itís a great representation of the Ulsterís Bands scene feeling towards SF/IRA and the Parades Commission.

I believe that that the Ulster Band scene is undoubtedly a major part of my British heritage and my Protestant culture. I will never let this go away from me. When I have my own children they will be taken to see these parades so they also get to witness this great spectacle of bands!

Another great reason for me attending Band parades is the fact that I know so many people in the bands that I never knew even had an interest in Flute Bands! Itís great seeing them. We talk about old times (mainly school days) and of present issues regarding the Marching season etc.

Iím not ashamed to say that sometimes the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when some of the bigger bands are playing near me. It brings a great pleasure and pride when Iím at parades. I can safely say I am proud to be British and very proud to be a Protestant.

Philip,East Belfast, Co. Down.

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