Oddfellows set to bring colour to Newburgh street

One of the colourful characters in the parade
One of the colourful characters in the parade

Newburgh High Street is expected to be packed with locals and visitors on Hogmanay for Newburgh Caledonian Lodge of Oddfellows’ annual torchlit procession.

By tradition, the parade is headed by the newest Apprentice, who always sits on a horse facing backwards - and without a saddle! He is led by the Oddfellows’ Outside Guard.

As well as a host of colourful characters in fancy dress, the parade includes a brass band.

Dating back more than 100 years, the Oddfellows were founded by visitors from Dundee, who came up the River Tay for their holidays.

Originally a friendly society, to which members paid a subscription every month or quarter which entitled them to benefits, the first torchlight procession was held in 1885.

The Newburgh group is not associated with any other lodge, organisation or religious groups and is the only Oddfellow Lodge in existence in Scotland.

A street collection taken during the parade goes to local groups. More than £1000 was raised at last year’s event, with cheques going to Age Concern, the Old Folks’ Treat and Newburgh pensioners.

The parade gets under way at 7pm, midway along the High Street, near the Steeple, with the road closed to traffic for about an hour. Severe weather five years didn’t even deter the hardy Oddfellows, who braved snow and sub-zero temperatures to take part.