P/M Trevor Dear 1939 – 2019

The death has been reported of Trevor Dear, pipe major, pipe band adjudicator, teacher and pipe music collector. Trevor, who was 79, had been ill for some time and died in hospital yesterday evening. He had been due for discharge but collapsed and could not be revived.

Trevor was born in Forfar, Angus, and began piping aged seven being taught by P/M Norman Meldrum of Invercauld, Braemar. After what he described as ‘an excellent grounding’ from P/M Meldrum he then received tuition from Charles Begg of Forfar and subsequently from P/M Sandy Campbell then of Kirriemuir and who emigrated and became famous in Queensland, Australia.

The quality of teaching Trevor received had to have a positive result and he won all the amateur prizes open to him and also significant numbers of awards round the local Highland games.

But it was with pipe bands that his main interest lay. As a young man Trevor joined the Forfar Burgh band under P/M Walter Leslie. In the 1960s and early 70s he had a close friendship with P/M Jackie Smith and Alex Kiddie of the Muirhead & Sons band and learned much from them. He was eventually appointed P/Sgt of the Forfar band under P/M Leslie and under their dual guidance the band went from Grade 4 to Grade 1 in four seasons.

Following this, in 1965, P/M Donald Shaw Ramsay recruited Trevor for the superstar pipe band of the age, Invergordon Distillery, where whisky magnate Frank Thomson spared no expense on full number one uniforms, Red Gordon kilts and plaids and whisky jobs for the band’s pipers and drummers.

These included John D Burgess, John MacDougall, Alex Duthart, Jim Hutton, Kit Reynolds, Joe Wilson and many other frontline bandsmen of the era. As Trevor told me when I interviewed him in 2000: ‘This was indeed an outfit of the highest calibre and it gave me great pleasure to be part of it.

‘I enjoyed playing with so many very fine musicians. We certainly introduced some new musical approaches for pipe bands and won many of the major prizes on the way.’

When P/M Ramsay retired Trevor was approached to become Pipe Major of Invergordon and led them on a tour of Ireland and was in charge for their last radio broadcast from the BBC’s Grampian Studios in Aberdeen.

In 1966 he joined Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band as a guest player under P/M Iain McLeod, another period of his career he enjoyed greatly, before work took him back north where he took over as pipe major of Dingwall British Legion.

Trevor took them from Grade 4 to Grade 1 in four seasons, the second time he had had such an experience with a band.

On retiring from bands in 1974 he joined the RSPBA’s Adjudicators’ Panel and qualified as both a piping and ensemble judge. He was a very conscientious adjudicator. On one occasion he said: ‘I always appreciate the hard work that goes into a band’s performance in all of the grades. They are all trying to get it right on the day and I always make the effort to give them an honest result.’

In 2008 Trevor produced his own collection of pipe music the ‘Speyside Highland Collection of Bagpipe Music’. This was very well received by the piping and pipe band community and contained tunes from the likes of George McIntyre, Donald Shaw Ramsay, Harry McNulty, Finlay McRae and Bruce Thomson – and one from British Columbia’s Robert MacNeil, a four parted Strathspey, ‘Trevor Dear of Morayshire’.

Our thoughts and condolences are with Trevor’s wife Nora and family and friends at this time. RW

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7 thoughts on “P/M Trevor Dear 1939 – 2019

  1. So sad to hear of one of my old neighbours passing. Could often hear the pipes from across the street when it was quiet. Sadly missed

  2. I first met Trevor in late 1954 at band practice with Forfar Burgh Pipe Band. Having been a BB drummer
    and working at E&D Nichols joinery where the Shop Foreman was Watt Leslie PM of the band.
    He encouraged me to join the band, and my first outing was Hogmanay at Forfar Cross that year.
    He became Pipe Sergeant of the band, then Pipe Major in about 1962. First competition as Pipey
    I think was the Scottish championships at Markinch Fife, where we came 4th. The judges had
    made a mistake on the point counting, and we were actually 3rd beating Edinburgh Police.
    He was an inspiration to so many people young and old and will go down in the annals of Piping
    history as one of the very top Pipers in the world, not only Scotland.
    I used to go up to Whitehills nearly every weekend doing jobs and playing games and was treated
    like one of the family. We used to go wild camping all over with Trevor and Nora,his brother Terry, his wife and others, including places like Balquhidder, Tomintoul, Pitlochry and Gareloch Wester Ross.
    Always had a great time, and Trevor usually had his pipes and would play around our camp site.
    He will be sadly missed by all his family, and the many friends he made on his journey through life.
    Love and Sincere condolences to Nora and all his extended family.
    RIP Trevor (Jake) Rest in Peace mate.

  3. Like Gordon sorry to hear of Trevor’s passing. I joined the Dingwall British Legion Band in 1976 having had no previous experience of a competition Band . Like a good football manager it was a revelation for me to see how Trevor moulded a group of players of different ages and abilities into an effective unit and doing the same many years later when he formed a group to promote his employers ‘ Speyside products throuought Spain leading to many enjoyable weekends and unforgettable experiences in his company.

  4. Trevor was one of the unsung heroes of pipe bands. I had the great pleasure of doing a number of workshops with him. The one I remember most was held in Elgin and we stayed in a very nice guest house together. The food was fantastic and the red wine was flowing. Trevor had a friend , or should I say acquaintance with him, to help with the learner pipers. Well Trevor decided that we would take the mickey out of this fellow, who shall remain anonymous, but to say it was the funniest thing I have ever been involved with, in my many years in pipe bands, is an understatement. The guy was from a place near trevor called Torgormach and soon ended up being accused of starting the Torgormach Highlanders. Well that started it Trevor was the Colonel and I was the Major of said outfit. The poor guy was ridiculed to the extent he had his dinner each evening and promptly made his excuses and went off to bed. Then Trevor and I had a few more wines and eventually he would declare it was time for a tune. Now I thought he would get his pipes out and give the place a tune . No not him he would stand up ang give us a song and believe me he was a braw chanter. I will never forget the Colonel and all he did , teaching kids and adults alike. A great man and teacher he will be sorely missed

  5. Very sorry to hear this news we had enjoyed many great weekends in Northern Ireland a true gent.

  6. So sorry to learn of the passing of Trevor Dear. I met Trevor in 1974 whilst living on the Black Isle and played with Dingwall British Legion until 1981 when I emigrated with my family to Australia. Trevor was a great musician and did wonders with that band. To compete at the Cowal Games and other Championships, all held in the south of the country, meant leaving Dingwall on the Friday evening and not returning until very late Saturday/ early Sunday. Quite a journey on the old A9! The band was full of characters and Trevor was brilliant at providing the tuition and coaching to take them on their journey to Grade 1. I had the privilege of catching up with Trevor at the “Worlds” on a couple of occasions when home on holiday and have no doubt he will be sadly missed in the pipe band world. Condolences to Nora and family. ( ps. Trevor was still PM of the band in 1981, not sure when he retired)

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