PP Ed’s Blog: South Florida/ Ulster Fundraisers/ Charles MacLeod Williamson

About half way through the South Florida school with good progress on all fronts. Temperatures here in the 80s with a nice breeze. Quite a contrast with the UK.

The big hit at last night’s pub ceilidh was Andrew Elliot (Field Marshal) the bass and tenor teacher. Andrew did a spot with tyro teacher Jack Williamson (P/M St Andrews Society Band, Kansas) which had the audience transfixed.

A great party trick which was in contrast to the upset many of the students are feeling over the Parkland shooting a couple of weeks back. Many of them were either personally or professionally involved. Parkland is only 15 minutes or so from where we are at Boca Raton. No one has pulled out however, seeing the school as a means of taking the mind off a seriously disturbing event.

We wish our founding student Mike Nugent all the best with his imminent heart procedure and look forward to seeing him back in the ranks soon. Mike is the Chief of Fire for Broward County where the shooting took place.

In the picture up top some students pose after our second band practice. Here’s one of the instructors:

Thanks to everyone who is keeping me in the loop whilst over here. More items for the blog:

John Kelly in Ulster: In my original report I said that about £4,500 was raised at the recent  fundraising concert for the Children’s Cancer Unit, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast. Gary Smyth (Quinn Memorial Pipe Band), the organiser, has posted this on his Facebook page: ‘The total now stands at £8947 and we the Smyth Family will make it up to at total of £9000…Yes £9,000. I can only say a massive thank you for your support.’

The RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch (RSPBANI) hosted the President’s Charity Concert – ‘A Touch of Tartan’ in the Island Hall, Lisburn on Friday 16th February in support of the British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI).  In welcoming the audience to the fundraising event, the RSPBANI President Winston Pinkerton thanked all who took part and gave a special welcome to all who attended.  He then gave a brief overview of British Heart Foundation and explained that this worthy cause was his chosen charity as the pipe band fraternity in Northern Ireland has tragically lost several members recently due to heart disease.  The compere at the evening of great entertainment was award-winning entertainer Gary Wilson.  Taking part was: Country singer Hugo Duncan, Drumlough Pipe Band (above), Bags & Bellows Scottish Smallpipe Ensemble, Armagh Drum Majors Display Team and highland dancers Kathryn Stewart and Jodie Turner (Kathryn Stewart School of Highland Dancing).

Mr Pinkerton is pleased to add that proceeds from the concert plus money raised from collections at pipe band contests over the last two years has raised around £11,000 for his chosen charity.

Jimmy McIntosh has sent this re Charles MacLeod Williamson: ‘Charlie was in the Cameron’s with me. He was called the ‘jeweller’ and had a distinctive set of pipes that his father made. The drones were engraved with a celtic design covering all the wood. He had an older brother and it was his father’s intention that Charlie would be the jeweller in his business. He was a pal of mine and would always come to the Royal Arch Halls in Edinburgh when I was there competing.

‘When I returned from Malaya I was sent down to Redford Barracks on  a six-week Highland dancing course and the person in the next bed was young Bob Brown. Donald McLean was the P/M and his assistants were Andrew Pitkeathly and Jimmy Yardley. If I find a photo of the jeweller I will send it to you.  He spent a lot of time with his grandmother (Granny MacLeod). I think his father was a hard man. Charlie was a very humble person.’