I enlisted in the Scots Guards in January 1974 and after basic training, I joined the Piping School’ at the Guards Depot, Pirbright where I was taught by Pipe Major Arthur Gelvin.
The biggest influence on my early piping life was probably my old Pipe Major – Angus Macdonald MBE.
On leaving the army I returned to Dundee, and joined the Mains of Fintry Pipe band, and while there I took part in the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony in 2008. I also played in Paris and appeared on stage at the Moulin Rouge. In 2009 I played at Disney World in Florida, appearances were also made in Germany and Poland. Many different events played at but most notably playing at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles on a regular basis.
In 2011 I left Mins of Fintry to help set up the ‘Spirit of Discovery Pipe band as pipe sergeant and eventually as Pipe Major. I look forward to the challenge in my present role as Pipe Major of Dundee City Pipe band where there is never a dull moment 🙂
“Being able to play the pipes… it’s like a gift that you have to pass on”
Before joining the band, I was previously one of the youngest Pipe Majors in Scotland. Having started as Pipe Major when I was only 14. I have competed in all the championships in many different grades, and I have also been very fortunate to play for a great number of VIPs including; The Dalai Lama, Prince Harry and Albert Roux.
I have been involved with several folk bands and have had many opportunities from them – I played with Ceilidh band, Tweed out in Cyprus for the army burns suppers. I have also been to Mexico and Africa with the Pipes with offers of gigs in America, Europe and Australia too!
I was approached by Pipe Major Bryson to join the band at the end of September 2017. Iain told me that the band was a developing band and he would like me to come onboard to help as a tutor of sorts – I decided it would be a good opportunity for me to expand my skill set and also help others with the pipes.
Since joining in early November, I have seen a remarkable improvement in the band. It’s been humbling and heart-warming to see everyone progressing so much, and to have been able to help them refine their technique and boost their confidence has been an honour.
I have truly high hopes for the band, it is my dream to get the band competing …the experience, I believe, would bring the band closer together and give them a goal to aim for!
Two years ago in 2016, I met Ross Inglis who told me about his love of Traditional Scottish Pipe Bands and his dream to create a new Pipe Band which would be open to everyone of all ages and abilities, with a special focus on encouraging young people with additional support needs – an idea supported by his friend Kevin Marnie.
Ross told me about his experiences as a Piper and of the barriers he faced in accessing the world of Piping, due to his learning disability and Autism, a story which acted as the key driver for the development of Dundee City Pipe Band.
My involvement with the band has been to support Ross to realise his goals and to encourage others with long term health conditions to get involved. My knowledge and skills of working as Occupational Therapy Team Lead for learning disabilities and Director of social enterprise Tayberry Enterprise Ltd, have enabled me to contribute to the development of the band which is now a registered charity (SC047993) enjoying growing recognition for innovation.
I was one of the founder members of the 6th Perthshire Coupar Angus Scout Pipe Band in the early 1970s and since then I have enjoyed played solo at family events.
Some years ago I took up lessons again with Pipe Major Willie Whyte from Forfar and this helped me improve my technique. Then in 2017 I joined Dundee City Pipe Band and the regular practice with the Band is paying dividends.
I have worked in media and communications with organisations such as Shelter, Citizens Advice Scotland and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations. I currently work in Technology Enabled Care with Dundee Voluntary Action. For ten years I was a Dundee City Councillor, convening the Housing Committee, and I also chaired Dundee’s Fairness Commission, which produced the report “A Fair Way To Go”. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I joined the army cadets in 1965 and that’s when I first took interest in piping. In 1967 I enlisted in the army as a junior piper with the Queen’s own Highlanders. I was taught by Pipe Major Dennis Rodden.
When I left the army I gave up piping due to work and family commitments.
I worked for many years as a nurse in the general and learning disability field. I have also ran my own successful chiropody business for the last 35 years.
Over the last couple of years my love for piping has been re-kindled: I joined the Dundee City Pipe Band when it first formed. I feel with my vast experience in working and supporting people with various physical, psychological and social needs makes me well suited for a band who enables people who have additional needs to be involved in a pipe band.
I’ve always been interested in pipe bands and first took up drumming in 2014 when I saw a poster advertising that The Sprit of Discovery Pipe Band were looking for new players.
I quickly focused on playing Bass Drum and never looked back. Then in 2016 my friend Ross Inglis approached to get involved with the Dundee City Pipe Band, which was just setting up.
I became secretary because I wanted to help the band and get it off the ground. I also wanted to learn new admin skills which I thought would be helpful with finding future work roles. I felt that I had the skills and talents to offer but no one ever gave me a chance. Then Dundee City Pipe Band have given me new opportunities and something to aim for and to get better whilst I go through some health issues.
I got involved with Dundee City Pipe Band in 2016 through my work with Dundee Social Enterprise Network.
I wanted to offer help in setting up the bands charity status and social purpose. I also have a long family connection with Piping and so the work of Dundee City Pipe Band is important to me and I feel i can contribute to its development. It’s been great to see such a mix of people of all ages and all abilities.
The Band offers an opportunity for everyone to have a go. I enjoy being part of the Band – it just feels welcoming – like everyone’s learning and getting better at playing.
I started my work experience with the band in January 2018 – my dad is the treasurer of the band and helped me get involved. I am helping out with the social media and with the website – trying to attract more people to join the pipe band with great posts and making the website better.
I am at college doing my HNC in digital design and web development. College said to do extra work experience out with college to help develop my computer skills and confidence and social skills. So far my work experience has been good – I have learned how to use WordPress and expand my computer knowledge further – it’s been helpful and enjoyable.