RSPBA Chairman John Hughes has offered support and encouragement to all bands participating in today’s first major of the season, the British at Paisley.
Mr Hughes (pictured below) said: ‘On the day of the first Major Championship of the season, I hope you are all feeling satisfied with the hard work and determination that has gone in over the winter.
‘I know a number of you have managed to get out to the local contest in your area to get a run out prior to the Major, and I thank you for supporting these events.
‘The venue for the British Championship remains as St James Playing Fields for the moment, and the ground is in superb condition thanks to the good weather over the last few weeks.
‘There are some new activities being put on this year by the promoters, which should interest a whole range of visitors, including a new Highland Games area that has been created.
‘We are intending to record both the Grade 1 and Grade 2 contest and put them on our RSPBA YouTube channel within a few days of the championship, as we have for the last couple of season.
‘We will also be sending out information throughout the day on our Twitter feed so best to follow @RSPBAHQ, where you will also get the day’s results just after they’re announced in the park.
‘So I hope the weather holds out, and I hope you all have a very successful day, whatever that success looks like.’
Meanwhile the promoters Renfrew District Council have issued a press release: ‘The British Pipe Band Championships – the first of piping’s five summer ‘majors’ and second-only in size to the Worlds – will feature 123 bands from across the UK and Ireland, and drum and pipe majors from as far afield as the USA, Denmark and Belgium.
‘For the first time the event will feature a Highland Games competition and Scottish Open Strongman contest featuring World’s Strongest Man competitors – including the chance for visitors to test their own strength.
‘Other free events include Highland dancing, a food village with bar, and family entertainment.
‘Event organisers Renfrewshire Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have also teamed up with McGill’s Buses to transport spectators to and from the event – free of charge.
‘This year’s event chieftain will be poet Brian Whittingham, the Tannahill Makar for Renfrewshire. He said: “This will be the first time I’ve attended the Championships and it’s an honour to be have been asked to be Chieftain.
“I’m sure the sight and sound of so many world-class pipe bands will make for a tremendous experience. It’s fantastic we’re able to welcome thousands of visitors to Renfrewshire for such a prestigious event and I know they’ll enjoy the welcome they receive.”’
Local interest on the day includes the Johnstone Pipe Band, Kilbarchan Pipe Band and the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band.
Visitors should note there will be no public parking at the event. McGill’s will run the shuttle buses from Paisley Gilmour Street station, West College Scotland and Swift Parking on Greenhill Road, with the latter two offering free event parking.
Other transport options include getting the train to Paisley St James station, which is a short walk from the event site, or a bus to Paisley town centre, and transferring to the free shuttle.
This is the fourth year the championships have taken place in Paisley – with the area contracted to continue to host until 2021.
Last year’s event attracted 17,000 attendees and generated more than £300k for the local economy.
- Piping Press will have a summary of the results as we get them. Follow the RSPBA Twitter feed as they are announced. Check the summaries on the RSPBA website shortly after the championship March Past.