2020 Kids with Cancer Charity Concert Raises £14165

Gary Smyth and magnificent cheque

At a time when piping and drumming news is both scarce and exceedingly downbeat to say the least I am delighted to inform readers of some truly upbeat news. Gary Smyth the lead organiser of the Kids with Cancer Charity concert that took place in the Royal Hotel, Cookstown, Northern Ireland, on Saturday 22nd February 2020 has advised that the amazing total of £14,165 was realised. 

On the night the concert featured a line-up of world champion drummers who had won over forty titles between them namely Stephen McWhirter (10), all-time record holder Jim Kilpatrick (16), Barry Wilson (4), John Scullion (4), Andy Scullion (3) , Gordon Brown (2), Paul Turner (1), Arthur Cook (1) along with multiple All Ireland Champion William Glenholmes and current champion Gareth McLees who played the scores of legendary two time world champion the late Bobby Rea.

Other drummers were Rachel Thom, Jamie Coffey, Tiernan Kavanagh and star turn John Lappin. Top pipers featuring in the line-up were Stuart Liddell and Chris Armstrong along with rising stars Beth Preston, Alistair Donaghy and Ryan Cupples Menendez. Also appearing was tenor drummer Jordan Baillie, the Grade 4A All-Ireland Champion pipe corps of Kildoag and Cavanaleck Brien Boru a pipe band with a difference.

For the third year in a row the pipe band community through its pipers, drummers and associated businesses went the extra mile in terms of attending, contributing, performing and sponsoring to make this event so successful.

To raise a grand total of £31,500 over the three years has been a magnificent effort and Gary Smyth and his organising team deserve all the congratulations for their efforts and in particular their persuasive powers in attracting top pipe band talent both solo and bands to appear.

There is no doubt that those who have appeared over the three years gave the event the kudos needed and the fact that so many were willing to travel long distances at their own expense speaks volumes for those involved in the pipe band scene. 

All the money raised has been donated to the Belfast based Royal Victoria Hospital’s Cancer Unit Charity but unfortunately this year due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic Gary was unable for understandable reasons to visit the Unit to make the presentation to staff. The most important thing as Gary says is that ‘we ALL raised this amazing amount of money for the children and their families’.

It would be nice given the outstanding success of these three events if it could continue and given the situation we are currently faced with regarding the coronavirus pandemic maybe when that time comes around it would be a good start to the 2021 season as there is the real possibility that we won’t have a 2020 season.

In saying all that it has to be appreciated that Gary and his team are put under considerable stress each year while most of the pipe band related businesses that have been so generous in the past may have had an extremely difficult trading 2020 given the scale of the cancellations worldwide to date.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend or see any of the videos that have been posted on Facebook I would recommend that you have a look at them. In particular if you have never heard a Brien Boru Pipe Band play before I would recommend that you give Cavanaleck Pipe Band a listen.

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