Photo Journalist John Kelly Dies Suddenly

It is with considerable sadness that we report the sudden passing of our Northern Ireland pipe band correspondent John Kelly. He was 71 and had been very active right up to his passing.

John’s last dispatch, on a Burns Supper at Titanic Belfast, featured on PP only yesterday.

In John’s last report for Piping Press he is pictured second from the left. In the centre is DUP leader Arlene Foster

In it John, from Lisburn, was photographed showing no sign of illness. His passing has shocked the Northern Irish pipe band community with dozens of tributes published on Facebook.

Adult Grade Drum Major winner Andrea Gibson (Battlehill Pipe Band) is pictured with John (RSPBANI Honorary Vice-President) at Moira after she was presented with a shield which John donated to the RSPBANI in 2015 in memory of his mother, the late Mary Emily Kelly, who died 27 years ago

PP Editor Robert Wallace said: ‘I was shocked to hear the news to say the least.

‘John will be sorely, sorely missed. He loved the music, the bands and the NI branch and did a huge amount for the pipe band movement in general.

‘His reports and pictures for Piping Press reached the very highest of journalistic standards: accurate, factual and timeous. His death is a tremendous loss to pipe band journalism and to Northern Ireland.’

Northern Ireland based adjudicator Alan Ronaldson said: ‘John was a great ambassador for pipe bands here and a photographic expert.

‘He contributed to the media over here and was a great supporter of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA.

‘I know Piping Press had a posting from him only days ago – very poignant.’

John’s NI journalist colleague Gilbert Cromie broke the news to PP: ‘It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that John Kelly has died suddenly.

‘I note that he supplied you with photos from the Burns Concert. I am absolutely stunned, shocked. I was talking to him at the concert and on the phone the next day.’

Piping Press would like to offer sincere condolences to his family and friends. If anyone would like to leave a message of condolence please do so below.

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2 thoughts on “Photo Journalist John Kelly Dies Suddenly

  1. John Kelly worked tirelessly to promote the pipe band movement in N. Ireland. He will be sadly missed

  2. John Kelly was a real gentleman a great character pipe band contests will never be the same again he was part of the furniture his camera backpack and straw hat I wish his family gods richest blessing at this very sad time

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