PP Ed’s Blog: S Guards KO/ SPA Dates/ Tutor 1/ BB Jubilee/ Inverness Piping Society/ Alex Beaton

Lucky Jimmy Banks is off on a cruise so thanks to John Rae for sending the latest from the Scots Guards KO: ‘The winner of the knockout piping held at the Scots Guards Club, Edinburgh, on Sunday 26 November 2017 to a capacity crowd, was Dan Nevans who edged out Jamie Elder in a closely matched contest.

‘Dan goes through to the semi-finals along with Jonathan Simpson and Ben Duncan. Joining them will be the winner of our next knockout even on  Sun 28 Jan 2018 when Callum Watson v Ross Miller.’


Tom Johnstone, President of the Scottish Pipers’ Association has confirmed provisional dates for their major competitions in 2018. They are as follows:

Adult Amateur and Veterans Contest – Saturday 24th March, 2018
Professional Contest – Saturday 14th April, 2018
Juvenile Contest – Saturday 8th September, 2018

The venue for all events will be the College of Piping. Tom adds: ‘I look forward to seeing you all at the club nights and the contests. Our next meeting is this Friday, Dec 1 at 7.30pm at the College. All welcome to play, listen or just chat.’ www.scottishpipersassociation.co.uk



Thanks to Jim Semple for the kind words about my Bagpipe Tutor Book 1. Jim, noted teacher,  six times World Pipe Band Championship winner with P/M Ian McLellan’s Strathclyde Police and a respected RSPBA piping adjudicator, wrote in our comments section yesterday:  ‘Really impressed with this and books 2 & 3. The step by step element makes natural progression very easy to follow. I have only just started using these books recently and would recommend them to tutors. A mixture of the CoP and the Logan’s Tutor.’


Alastair Campbell, Secretary of the Inverness Piping Society: Please come along to the Society’s meeting on 6th December.  We will be joined by another promising young Highland piper, John McLaren from Invergordon, who will be our featured local piper this month. Our feature piper nights are a chance to hear local pipers in an informal setting. Other pipers are welcome to bring their pipes along for an evening of piping and chat. Time: 7.45 for 8.00 pm, The Club, Ardross Terrace (beside Masonic Lodge).


The picture up top will stir the heart of every ex-BB piper out there. Over 600 pipers! The photograph is from the Jubilee celebration held at Queen’s Park, Glasgow, in September 1933 held to mark the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the movement by Sir William Smith. The picture was on display at a recent exhibition held in Glasgow’s Mitchell Library and mentioned last week. So many of the young men on parade would be caught up in the WW2 conflagration only a few years later and all would have done the BB proud.

The astonishing crowds at Bellahouston Park in 1933

To quote from a report: ‘The Jubilee in 1933 was the biggest event ever held in the history of The Boys’ Brigade : numbers were at their very best, with a total enrolment of 111,871 Boys and 52,219 Life Boys. Jubilee weeks, pageants, displays and thanksgivings were to be held up and down the land. The Jubilee Review took place at Queen’s Park Recreation Ground on Saturday 10th September with a parade state of 32,520 Officers and Boys. 100 special trains and as many buses carried the BB to Queen’s Park where 16 schools were open to provide 1230 breakfasts, 10,949 lunches and 17 ,700 teas during that long exciting day. The Inspecting Officer for the great event was His Royal Highness, Prince George, in naval uniform. The Parade of 17 Battalions was led by the 1st Glasgow, under their Captain, Douglas Pearson Smith, son of the Founder. 637 pipers formed the Massed Pipe Bands, all bravely playing ‘Highland Laddie’. The most dramatic moment was the Advance in Review order – thousands upon thousands of Boys advancing as one man.’


Lastly a wee word for Alex Beaton the well known California-based entertainer. Alex, he of the Errol Flynn looks and the ‘cowboy in a kilt’ persona, hailed originally from Scotstoun in Glasgow and I got to know him from meeting him at various Highland games in the States over the years. Sharing boyhood memories we discovered we went to the same school, though Alex was a few years ahead of me. As well as playing ceilidh tents the breadth of America. Alex also ran tours back to the old country, often taking in the Worlds. Alex’s health has not be the best lately so I sent him a get well message on social media. In case you didn’t get it my old mucker, all the best to you and remember, ex-Victoria Drive schoolboys don’t give up.


One thought on “PP Ed’s Blog: S Guards KO/ SPA Dates/ Tutor 1/ BB Jubilee/ Inverness Piping Society/ Alex Beaton”

  1. Regarding the BB exhibition at the Mitchell, I shall begin to edit our conversation and when completed with photos of 214 BB PB (would the old pipers and drummers send me some photos please through Robert or direct to hami180@btinternet.com ) I shall post on http://www.piperspersuasion.com Having reviewed the footage it definitely looks very interesting and throws light on both the institution of the BB and the famous 214th Co. BB PB who provided great players to the Grade 1 bands of the day.

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