John Hughes 1956-2024

The pipe band community worldwide has been shocked to learn of the sudden and unexpected passing of John Hughes on 21st January 2024.  John had been a high-profile official in the RSPBA, and a recognised figure at major championships and local competitions, for many years. 

There have already been many tributes to John for his tireless work for the Association and its Lothian and Borders Branch.  It was particularly unfortunate and sad that he passed away the day after his 68th birthday.  

John had been an RSPBA Director (formerly National Councillor) for almost 20 years, representing the Lothians and Borders Branch.  He became Vice-Chairman of the Association in 2011 and served as Chairman between 2018 and 2021. 

Following that role he was appointed an Honorary Vice-President of the Association.  Last year he returned to the role of Vice-Chairman, where he was responsible for many aspects of the Major Championships, oversight of all on-field operational aspects including stewarding, and ensuring that everything went according to the schedule. 

During his time as Chairman of the RSPBA he also oversaw the extensive refurbishment of the Association’s Headquarters in Washington Street, Glasgow. 

Happier days….. December 2018 when the RSPBA, with John as Chairman, won a tourism award for the outstanding success of the World Pipe Band Championships. Also pictured are former RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton (l) and Chief Steward, the late Alex Dalziel

John had also been President of the Lothian and Borders Branch since 2017, having previously also served as Chairman.  In these roles he was deeply involved in the local competitions organised by the Branch.

In recent years John also became a Trustee of the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust.

In his early years John was a Highland dancer and learned the pipes aged 12 in the Neilston Pipe Band in Barrhead, Glasgow.   

In addition to Neilston, during his pipe band career he was also a registered member of Hoover, Linlithgow, Drambuie Kirkliston, Lothian & Borders Police and more recently People’s Ford Boghall & Bathgate.  In his earlier bands he competed for over 30 years.

In his professional life John moved from employment in the West of Scotland to become Head of IT for Edinburgh City Council.  Since that time he worked in the finance and IT sectors in a number of capacities in organisations such as the Edinburgh District Council, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Life Investments, Standard Life Assurance Company and British Telecom.  In recent years he has operated as an independent business consultant known as JBH Communications Consultants.

During my time as an RSPBA adjudicator I worked with John in a variety of ways in connection with the adjudicators’ panel, adjudicator training, competitions at national and local level and a number of other projects. 

I always found him to be fully committed to his various roles and a strong ambassador for the RSPBA and its Lothian and Borders Branch.  He will be missed by everyone in the pipe band fraternity and my sincere sympathies are with Carol and the family at this time.

Alistair Aitken OBE

  • The funeral of P/M George Lumsden will take place at Kingdom Hall, Cowden Park, Stirling Road, Alloa FK10 2AY on Monday 29thJanuary at 2pm. There is to be a reception afterwards at the Alba Restaurant, Claremont Hotel, 23 Kellie Place, Alloa. 

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