New Mentoring System for Solo Judges/ George Sherriff Competition

The Solo Piping Judges’ Association is to establish a Mentoring System for Judges, writes Secretary Roderick Livingstone. 

Following the Association’s AGM it has been decided that a pool of Senior Judges who are prepared to volunteer their services as mentors to new judges will be formed. 

The mentoring process will be available to all new judges irrespective of their initial grading on acceptance. New judges will be required to fully participate in the programme.

The mentoring process will last for a period of one year and will include a full season of piping competitions. 

The new judge will arrange to attend three hour-long sessions with the Advisory Judge/Mentor during the year. The sessions may be ‘in-person’ or via video conference platforms. 

The new judge will be actively involved in judging engagements throughout the season. 

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The role of the Senior Judge will be to act as an advisor/mentor and to make himself/herself available for the three, hour-long coaching sessions. The Senior Judge will also provide guidance on best practices when judging with the new judge. The new judge will provide written or verbal feedback from judging assignments during the coaching sessions. 

The SPJA will consult with the major competition organisers (Argyllshire Gathering, Northern Meeting, London and others) and seek approval for the proposal to allow the new judge to be granted permission to sit in an observational capacity on the judges’ bench at one of the major competitions. The new judge will not take part in the decision-making process, but will benefit from further coaching by the mentor at a major competition. 

It is anticipated that this could be accommodated by allowing the new judge to act as timekeeper during the competition before retiring with the judging panel to observe the process which leads to the creation of the final result. Other options to achieve this objective whilst respecting the status of the panel could also be considered.

Senior adjudicators Jimmy Banks MBE and P/M Barry Donaldson on duty at Lochaber Gathering

It may be that during the process the new judge may be able to ask questions if time allows but will not be allowed to contribute anything which may affect the judgement of the panel. The new judge should continue to be remindful that the confidentiality of the bench must be respected at all times, allowing consistency with the SPJA Code of Conduct of which he/she is a signatory. 

At the conclusion of the year-long mentoring process, both the Senior Judge and the new judge will submit written reports to the Chairman of the SPJA. The Chairman will discuss the reports with the SPJA committee and recommend one of the following actions:

1 That the mentoring period has been successfully completed. 
2 That a further mentoring period with a different Senior Judge is necessary. 


George Sherriff Contest

Ontario’s George Sherriff Memorial Invitational Competition is returning ‘live’ on November 19, 2022.  It’s the 26th year of the contest.

As in the past, the location is St Paul’s Presbyterian Church, an official Canadian Historic Site, in downtown Hamilton, a visually and acoustically impressive venue for a solo piping event.

The competition will feature ten of the best amateur pipers from North America. It comprises three separate events, 6/8 March (10am), Piobaireachd (12.30pm), and March, Strathspey & Reel (approx. 7.30pm), with prizes thereafter. The MC is the President of the PPBSO, Michael Grey.

It’s still not too late to lend some financial support.  Cheques payable to the George Sherriff Invitational can be sent to the organiser Bob Worrall at 1316 Monmouth Drive, Burlington, ON L7P 3J6 or email him at All key information surrounding the contest can be found on the Sherriff website.

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