We are the Portsmouth District Lodge of the Loyal Orange Institution of England and are writing in response to the article on July 20 regarding the refurbishment of the King William III statue.
Firstly we would like to thank all concerned in getting the statue refurbished. We understand that would be no easy task and not without a considerable cost.
We felt the piece written by Paul Ferguson spread more division than the Orange Institution ever has and might do well to understand what the Orange Institution of England beliefs are before he tries to further spread misinformation in the future.
Perhaps after doing some research Mr Ferguson could offer an apology to us and our members and to his readership for misleading them.
As a district we have looked on Petersfield as a very significant place for us to hold our annual parade and have done for many years in a dignified and peaceful manner, concluding at the heath for a open-air church service.
It is one of the very few places in the country that has a statue of this great monarch and should be congratulated for doing so.
As part of that parade we stop at the statue to lay a wreath in memory of King William III, to remember his life and the many things this king did for our country.
The fact he was asked to come to this country to become king and preserve our Protestant religion, which was being eroded, was a massive task in itself.
He not only did this but gave civil and religious rights to all, something that is still current today in our multi-cultural society.
For many years we have had people congratulate us and enjoy the parade as it has passed through the streets of Petersfield and unfortunately this year our members were heckled by a very small minority of patrons of a public house trying to cause trouble.
This abuse was ignored by our members who continued to lay the wreath before continuing on to the war memorial and to lay a further wreath for our war dead.
Petersfield should be proud of this piece of history and we fully agree there should be some form of explanation plaque of what this man achieved in his reign, to maybe take away the stigma that the media and some people have brought about this once great king.
Portsmouth District Loyal Orange Institution of England
The editor says: The story Paul wrote was about people querying whether a statue of King William III was suitable for the centre of Petersfield, and whether there were more fancied candidates. We will never apologise for giving individuals and organisations an opportunity to voice their opinions – that’s the role of a local newspaper.