PP Editor’s Blog: Aberdeen Games/ Europeans PB Champs/ John Hughes/ George Ackroyd

Sunday ‘s Games at Aberdeen have been cancelled due to ‘heavy and persistent rain’. The venue, Hazelhead Park, is currently waterlogged and more rain is forecast until Saturday.

Aberdeen City Council has made the decision to cancel the popular annual event following an inspection of the site earlier today (Wednesday 15 June). Even if the rain stops ahead of the Games the ground will not be suitable to host this large scale event.

About 10,000 spectators were expected to attend. Aberdeen City Council’s spokeswoman said: ‘Unfortunately, due to the heavy and persistent rainfall we have had to take the decision to cancel this year’s Highland Games. We have not taken this decision lightly. The area where the Games will be held and the free car park facilities which we were to provide are currently flooded and it is likely that the conditions will deteriorate further by Sunday. Anyone who has purchased tickets for this year’s Games from Eventbrite will be able to obtain refunds with proof of purchase.’


Still in the north east, ‘Piping at Forres’, promoters of the forthcoming European Pipe Band Championships (June 25th), have sent this: ‘A hamper full of goods from Moray and the surrounding area will be given to each of the 127 ands competing at Piping At Forres, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky, to raffle or auction towards the costs of attending Pipe Band competitions.

‘As well as putting in many hours of practice, competing bands must pay for accommodation, food and transport which can mean considerable costs for bands, especially those who have ferry or air fares to pay.   Even local bands have to meet the costs of transport and catering.  

Sponsore Hamper, Piping at Forres.
Sponsors Hamper, Piping at Forres.

The companies who have contributed to this exclusive Piping At Forres Hamper include:  Benromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky; Ashers of Nairn; Baxters of Fochabers;  Gardiners of Scotland;  Gordon & MacPhail;  Hamlyn’s Oatmeal and Porridge Oats; Mackay’s jams; Nairn’s Oatcakes; Speyside Water;  Johnstons of Elgin;  Mackie’s of Scotland;  Summer House Drinks; Deans Shortbread; Walkers Shortbread and Windswept Craft Beers.

‘Joanna Taylor, a Director of Forres Events Ltd, which runs the event as not-for-profit said:  ‘This is a wonderful way of supporting the pipe bands who make a considerable effort to be here and showcasing the great produce we have in Moray and the local area.  We are very grateful to the companies who have contributed to the hamper and we hope the bands will take these hampers back home to raffle and use the money to come back to Forres on Saturday 24 June 2017.’

This weekend (18/19th) is the last chance to buy advance tickets online or in shops.  From Sunday tickets will only be available at the event at the full price.

Until Saturday 18 June in shops and 19 June online tickets at advance prices are available at Beaver Travel in Forres and Elgin; Brodie Countryfare; The Bookshop, Logie Steading; Brambles Boutique, Nairn; Ewe & Me, Aberlour and Grantown-on-Spey or online at www.pipingatforres.com.   Tickets are in the form of wristbands allowing the ticket holder to exit and enter the park throughout the day. Advance ticket prices offer a saving over the price of tickets sold on the day as follows:-
Adult (18-59) £11.00 (£13.00 on day)
Youth (12-17)  £7.00       (£8.00 on day)
Senior Citizens (60 +) £10.00  (£11.00 on day)
Children under 12 Free of charge when accompanied by an adult, although they must be in possession of a wristband.
Family  Ticket 2 adults, 2 youths £30.00  (£32.00 on day).


John Kelly has sent this picture of a very dapper RSPBA Vice-President John Hughes at last weekend’s UK championships. John’s new outfit was a present for his 60th birthday. You wear it well John! It looks like some errant band is about to get it in the neck from the VP…..

john-hughes-in-new-rig


Ken Rogers in Calgary, is asking about P/M William Norris the compiler of the Glenallan Collection of pipe tunes. All I know Ken is that the book came out in 1952. Something tells me that Norris may have been a student of Robert Reid’s. Any info gratefully received.


There has been a question too about P/M George Ackroyd for whom RU Brown made the tape published yesterday. George Ackroyd was born in Edinburgh in 1902 and died in South Africa in 1973. He was a pupil of both Willie Ross and John MacDonald, Inverness, attending Army classes run by both. He joined the Army as a 15-year-old boy piper during WW1. He became P/M of the 2nd Battalion Black Watch in 1925. He emigrated to South Africa shortly before the outbreak of WW2 and saw service in that war with the Johannesburg-based Transvaal Scottish regiment.

He was taken prisoner at Tobruk and held in Germany until the end of the war when he was released by the Americans and flown back to England. He was repatriated back to South Africa 1945. There he became the regimental instructor of the Transvaal Scottish. He was a founding member of the Scottish Piping Society of the Witwatersrand. He gifted his pipes, an immaculate silver and ivory set (Henderson’s I think) to the King Edward Vll school pipe band where to date (to the best of my knowledge) the pipe major has temporary custody. The pipes can be seen in the photograph up top of P/M Ackroyd competing in South Africa in 1962.

P/M Ackroyd’s brother Ronald was for many tears a stalwart of the City of Edinburgh Police Pipe Band.


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