Amazing Determination of Piper Andrew Shilliday

PP Advertisers G1 Reeds and Proprietor Jock Elliott, have sent the following….

We are a bagpipe reed and chanter manufacturing company based in Kirkcaldy, Fife. We are currently working with a very special customer who has unfortunately suffered a disease called ‘Systemic Sclerosis’ which is an auto-immune disease of the connective tissue. The customer in question is Andrew Shilliday and he is pictured above before his terrible illness. Here is a little background on Andrew: 

Andrew is from Dungannon, Northern Ireland, and is a former member of 15 time World Champion pipe band Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia. Andrew studied Scottish Music: Piping at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland formerly Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He finished his degree in 2009 and became bagpipe instructor for the Highland Council covering Wester Ross, Ullapool and Gairloch. In 2011 he noticed a persistent cough that just wouldn’t disappear. After a scan of his lungs it was discovered that Andrew had serious fibrosis and he was admitted to hospital for further tests including muscle and lung biopsy.

Andrew seriously ill in hospital
In June 2012 he was diagnosed with ‘Systemic Sclerosis’ which caused him to lose most of his fingers and part of his legs. Andrew had to learn how to walk again, and, as you can imagine, his loss of fingers made his passion of playing the pipes very difficult. However Andrew’s love for pipe bands never subsided at all and he learnt how to drum to continue playing in pipe bands. Andrew spent a long time trying to be able to play bagpipes again and recently has developed an electronic chanter with holes in different positions to accommodate his amputated fingers. Now we at G1 Reeds have developed a pipe chanter in order to get Andrew back up on the full Highland pipes again. It has been a success and Andrew is travelling to Fife this week to play the pipes at a concert.
Andrew’s fingers today

I have attached some photos of Andrew from before and after the illness and recovery process and also some photos of the chanter we have developed for him.

The specially made chanter which has allowed Andrew to resume his piping

The reason G1 Reeds have taken such keen interest, is that Andrew and I used to play in Shotts and Dykehead together and as the owner of the company I was in the position to develop a chanter that will suit his fingers. We are going to have Andrew here at the workshop tomorrow and we will be doing some tweaks on the chanter, It would be great if you were able to come out and film it.

A fighter if ever there was one….Andrew Shilliday

Please leave some words of support for Andrew below.

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38 thoughts on “Amazing Determination of Piper Andrew Shilliday

  1. Just read Andrews story , so sad that he has gone through this terrible ordeal.
    What a fighter Andrew must be to not only have come through this but getting back onto the pipes and picking up from where he left off. This takes an exceptional determination to do this when a lot of people would have just given up .
    Well done Andrew and good luck for the future .

  2. What an amazing thing to do for Andrew! Well done G1….I can imagine how hard it was for Andrew to not be playing. I can’t wait to hear how he gets on with the chanter.
    I have played the tenor drum for over 30 years and love pipebands, it’s in the blood.
    I myself have been diagnosed with connective tissue disease in 2017, it’s an awful disease that will get worse as time goes on….but I’m fighting it as much as I can and I’m determined to keep going!
    Andrew is proof it can be done
    I wish Andrew my very best wishes.x

  3. This is fantastic. The world needs more of this. Just because no one did it before doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. Stay strong!

  4. An amazing guy, I can’t begin to imagine the troubles you’ve had to face. Remarkable persistence. Dedicated to your craft. No mater what we write it will never come close to what we actually want to say and wish you well. All I can say is we’ll done. Enjoy your piping

  5. What an incredibly strong person you are, Andrew. And G1 you are top notch for helping him, for sure!

  6. Andrew, what an inspiring story … i would welcome an opportunity to chat with you and share some information about a pipe band recently set up kn Dundee with z focus on inclusion and accessability – seems to me you are a powerful advocate for this ideal.
    If you have time please get in touch.

  7. Absolutely brilliant Andrew your dreams are actually coming true i sincerely hope that everything works out for you big rab show will miss you doing some of the streaming for him

  8. Incredible, you continue to amaze me with your determination, your such inspiration to us all. I can’t wait to see you back on the pipes. All the very best to a very special person. With much Andrew from Donna and the boys in Ullapool 🙂

  9. We’ve never met, Andrew, but I’ve heard loads about you from Norrie Gillies over the years. I know you were a big help and inspiration to him and the other Ullapool school pipers. Great to see this effort by G1 to get you back on the pipes.

  10. Wow! This is such incredible determination. I knew Andrew from school and remember how amazing and passionate about the pipes he was. Andrew you are a true inspiration. Good luck!

  11. This is an amazing story. All best wishes to Andrew to be able to play pipes again, and well done G1 for being a big part of that.

  12. Hi Andrew, Well done you and G1 … have the will to succeed so keep at it.
    I was looking back its just July 2017 when I modified my “EPIC” Electronic Bagpipe Chanter to suit your fingers, so it is wonderful what a year of hard practice does. Now you have the “real thing” sorted so will be able to play anywhere…..You are magic….. All the best

  13. Andrew you are such an inspiration to
    anyone with a disability , God bless and
    best wishes for the piping in the future

  14. What determination, well done Andrew that’s some achievement I’m sure you had many ups downs and frustrations, along the way, but you conquered. what an inspiration. Hope the concert is a big success just like yourself . All the best for the future and God Bless.

  15. Fantastic piper and creative composer. An inspiration to everyone. Wishing you all the very best, Andrew – will be amazing to have you playing pipes again. Lauren

  16. Hi Andrew, You have been absolutely AMAZING. You never gave up and neither did your family. Wishing you continued success for the future. Keep PIPING and speak soon. Your an inspiration and your determination is second to none. x

  17. Well done friend! Your passion and devotion to piping and your determination in overcoming adversity are truly both humbling and inspiring.

  18. I looked after you during your long and painful battle Andrew. This is absolutely fantastic to see. Your courage and determination is incredible. A true inspiration. Well done you.

  19. what an uplifting saga …. I admire folks with strong perseverance and that “can do”, never-say-die spirit ; thanks for informing us Rab, and tip-of-the-bunnet to Jock for his idea. Best of success Andy !

  20. fantastic story of bravery and courage. so inspiring to read a true tale of “its not over til its over” and Andrew is not letting this be over. Well done to the team at G1 also for working alongside Andrew to make his playing dreams possible. nice to read a 100% positive story once in a while.

  21. Andrew,

    You were always extremely kind to me from the moment we met when you started helping at the highland youth pipe band. You taught me truckloads at the Ullapool pipe band, allowing me to join at short notice and indeed gave me my start at the top level when you used to take me down to the shotts weekend practices.

    Seeing you go through some of the worst times was very difficult for all involved, but my respect for you has grown exponentially as a witness to your unbelievable resilience in the face of adversity. Your ability and drive to adapt to your conditions showed unbelievable patience and determinations. I know we’d spoken in the past about whether something would be at all viable but it’s great to hear that the option was in fact something that could be worked out.

    Take it easy bud,

  22. Awww fab Andrew, great news and good on you for persevering with this to get to where you are now. All the best, be great to see you play the pipes again!!!

  23. Andrew…. I am positive that the whole piping world supports you. Your bravery and insistence on playing the instrument you love is awe inspiring…. and thanks to G1 for following through on this special act of friendship… All the best as you go forward….

  24. Andrew is one in a million. I’ve have played in two bands with Andrew. The first in the William Kerr memorial in which he was pipe major winning several contest and 2nd in Tullylagan Pipeband where Andrew still plays in the drum corps. Not only did he blend in with the rest of the corps perfectly he went on to win. Two Ulster one Scottish , All Ireland and World drumming prizes. This guy is a legend and proud to call him a friend. As I say to Andrew he is the expert at doing the impossible.

  25. There plenty folk out there suffering from various ailments and trying to play again, your courage is inspiring

  26. Wow just wow , this is just incredible, well done G1 chanters for really helping Andrew , and Andrew you really are a hero and an inspiration to us all , we who take so much for granted ! Thanks for sharing piping press.

  27. Well done Andrew for persevering! Top marks to G1 for helping to make it possible. Hope the session tomorrow goes well.

  28. well done G1, and well done Andrew! This is amazing! Such great courage and determination, well done! Regards, Nick Taitz

  29. Aw Andrew that is amazing news!!! Can’t wait to hear you on the GHB again! Fantastic, so happy for you!

  30. Delighted for you Andrew. It was a privilege to have you on board with ullapool and district junior pipe band and your ability both as a piper and tutor made a huge difference to the band.

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