Editor’s Notebook: Clan MacRae and the Worlds/ Donald’s Fingers/ Bellows Pipes Sale/ PS AGM

Kenny Macleod has responded to this week’s story on the Clan MacRae band. Kenny: ‘My uncle Alec Macleod was the P/M of the Clan MacRae when they won the Grade 1 Worlds in 1953 [left of the trophy, facing], and my father Jimmy, pictured third from the left, was the pipe sergeant.

‘He left the band in 1968 and started the Glasgow Skye Association band along with Eddie MacLellan, who was the Skye’s first pipe sergeant and also Ian Riddell and John MacAllister who are also in the MacRae photo as well.

‘An interesting point is that the Clan MacRae won the Worlds seven other times between the two World Wars, putting them right up there with Muirheads, Edinburgh Police and Shotts.’

Thanks for that Kenny. I think that’s Eddie far right of the picture, facing. Can anyone place Ian Riddell and John McAllister?

And there’s another piper we need to identify. Eric Stein writes from the US: ‘I was reading your article this morning about the Clan MacRae and the picture from 1953. 

‘About 15 years ago I found this plaque on eBay:

‘As you can see it’s the award from the sponsors the News of the World to John MacRae of the 1953 World Champions. Could anyone identify John from the photo?’ Please help if you can.

Kenny makes a very good point about early Worlds winners – one that I mentioned a month or so back. Why are the bands which won the Cowal Championship, the de facto Worlds until 1947, not listed in the Glasgow Green programme every year?

When was the first Cowal Championship? 1905 I think, and the winners were P/M John MacDougall Gillies’ 8th Argylls. Following him I make that nine winners to the outbreak of war in 1914, and 21 between 1919 and 1939.

Among those deserving a proper mention, there will have been other regimental bands plus the MacRae, Glasgow Police, Clan MacLean? They should be recognised alongside your FMMs and Inverarays don’t you think?

Can we compile a list here on PP? If so I’ll forward it to the RSPBA. Answers please to editor@pipingpress.com.

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Donald’s Fingers

Nicholas Taitz: ‘Nothing so unusual about Donald McLeod’s finger position. Pics of GS also show the top hand angled. Many others. The slight curling of the F finger is also not unusual. Why does the author say it was so unusual in Donald’s case?

Seville & Bellows Pipes

Reader John Barbour: ‘I attended the Feria in Seville [Seville Easter Fair] a few years ago; and it was a fabulous event. Whilst wearing the kilt I was told by an older lady about a Scotsman known as ‘Pepe’ who came to Seville every year and played his pipes at the Feria.

‘Apparently he was so well know that, when he died, his passing was recorded in all the Seville newspapers. Have any other readers heard of this?

‘Incidentally, I have a beautiful set of Nigel Richards bellows smallpipes in Bb for sale for £1600 or close.’ Contact John here.

Piobaireachd Society AGM

The Society’s 2023 Annual General Meeting will be held online this Sunday, April 16, at 7pm (GMT+1). All members should have received the relevant notification, and a reminder with Zoom meeting details and agenda and other documents will be sent out before Sunday.

I would urge all members to attend if they can. It is your opportunity to put questions to your office bearers and to gauge accurately the health of the Society and review the work it is doing.

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