Tributes for John Hughes, Former President of the RSPBA

The RSPBA have announced the sudden death of former President John Hughes.

In a statement the Association said: ‘It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of our colleague and friend, John Hughes.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol and the family during this difficult time.’

The news has come as a great shock to the pipe band fraternity. John was latterly heavily involved in trying to find a solution to the ‘missing majors’ problems facing bands and the Association for the 2024 season.

As President of the Lothian & Borders Branch he celebrated one of the greatest days in the branch’s history when Boghall & Bathgate Pipe Band won the 2023 World Championships. He was the band’s representative to the branch.

It is understood John passed away during the night and was unresponsive despite prompt attention from emergency services.

Leading the tributes was his own band, World Champions Boghall. They wrote: ‘Along with the entire pipe band world, Peoples Ford Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band were shocked to learn of the sudden passing of RSPBA Vice Chairman John Hughes.

‘Firstly, everyone associated with our organisation wish to extend our love and best wishes to John’s family at such a difficult time. John Hughes is arguably better known as a first class administrator and an absolute stalwart within the ranks of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and the Lothian and Borders Branch in particular.

‘However, first and foremost, John was a piper to trade and retired from the active playing ranks of the Drambuie Kirkliston Pipe Band before embarking on his long term career within the management structure of the RSPBA.

‘Given his musical heritage, John always made every effort to place the views and welfare of bandsmen and women, irrespective of grade and standard, first and we’ll always remember him fondly for his commitment to the Lothian & Borders Branch, which has grown significantly under his leadership and guidance.

‘We also know how proud a moment it was for John to witness a Lothian & Borders-based band securing the Grade One World Pipe Band Championship at Glasgow Green last year.

‘Thanks for everything John. We’ll miss your wit, wisdom, loyalty and common sense.’

Social media was also full of heartfelt comments today. Stevie Stanley: ‘Shocked to hear this news. I remember John from his days in Drambuie; he was a hard worker and great guy. Thoughts are with his family at this sad time.’

John was always on hand at local competitions

Elizabeth Scott: ‘Still shocked at this sad news this morning, condolences to Carol, Brian, Lesley Anne and the rest of the family. RIP John you were a gentleman and friend to many.’ 

Stevie Stanley: ‘Shocked to hear this news. I remember John from his days in Drambuie; he was a hard worker and great guy. Thoughts are with his family at this sad time.’

Bruce Hamilton: ‘Very sad news indeed, thoughts go out to the family at this sad time RIP John.’

David Strachan: ‘Deepest condolences to all the family at this saddest of times for everyone from Prestonpans RBL Pipe Band. RIP John.’

Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust: ‘So very sad. John gave such a lot to others – time, knowledge, support – he will be very sorely missed. Condolences to his family.’

Eddie Hanratty: ‘Sad news. Sincere condolences to John’s Family from all at Penicuik & District Pipe Band.’

Ann Brown: ‘Sad news. John was always so active and busy when we met him at competitions. Sincere condolences to his family. RIP John x.’

John worked tirelessly for the Lothian & Borders branch and its bands. He recognised that bands were going through difficult times. At their last meeting he proposed that the deadline for payment of branch fees be extended.

One of his last announcements was that the money was in place for the popular 2024 Edinburgh contest at Ingliston and that they were ready to run a Grade One MSR and Medley contest.

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3 thoughts on “Tributes for John Hughes, Former President of the RSPBA

  1. I’m a steward at Cowal and always found John to be an absolute gentleman to deal with and always the smartest looking of the RSPBA representatives at Cowal.

  2. Very sad news. John will be greatly missed by all in the pipe band community. His friendship and support made a huge difference to so many. Condolences to all his family and friends. I hope fitting tributes will be made at this year’s competitions. It is heart breaking to think that we shall not see John confidently striding around the competition field again.

  3. Gosh, I cannot believe this. I saw John on an Eagle Pipers trip to Balmoral to play for the late Queen just before she passed away. Then later, saw him in the members enclosure at Edinburgh Castle during the tattoo while we were sitting in the rain and he toasted us with his champagne! He always looked so fit and healthy! Wow, sad news.

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