RSPBA Chief Executive Standing Down But Good News Coming on Majors/ John Hughes Funeral

Colin Mulhern, Chief Executive of the RSPBA, has tendered his resignation after only four years. However, Mr Mulhern has agreed to stay on in his job until a replacement can be found.

The news is a blow to the Association coming as it does on top of the sudden death of Vice Chairman John Hughes only two weeks ago*.

By the Editor

But the good news for the bands, and everyone with an interest in the pipe band world, is that I understand the Major Championship Group – spearheaded by John – are soon to announce that they have secured at least two new major championships for the 2024 season.

Their tireless work – they spoke to over 100 councils and private bodies – has now paid off.

Details will be announced in due course and there may also be the possibility of a fifth major being secured in the short term. Those in the bag are the UK Championships and the Europeans. I can also say that the first of the new majors will be in May.


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This is now an important target date for all bands who will be able to galvanise their pipers and drummers as they look towards the new season.

It is also great news for pipe band manufacturers and suppliers who rely on a healthy band season to boost sales and maintain staffing.

There has been so much negative publicity about the RSPBA that readers could be forgiven if they overestimated the current difficulties at Washington Street. The news on the majors will offer considerable reassurance.

Most of those involved with the Association cannot remember such a difficult time but I am sure that once the vacant posts are restaffed and the majors are in place a more positive outlook will prevail.

The loss of John Hughes as Vice President is a particular blow. It was John who was responsible for all the on-field organisation and decisions on contest day.

These duties will automatically fall to the new VP. He or she is expected to be confirmed at the AGM in March. Whether a new Chief Exec will be in place by then is not so certain but it is to Mr Mulhern’s credit that he has agreed to stay on until a replacement has been found.

Stay tuned to Piping Press for updates you can trust.

  • John’s funeral will be on Friday, February 9th, at West Lothian Crematorium, Livingston EH54 7FD at 2pm. Mourners invited to Mercure Hotel, Livingston, after the service has concluded.

2 thoughts on “RSPBA Chief Executive Standing Down But Good News Coming on Majors/ John Hughes Funeral

  1. I would suggest that the purported confirmation of 2 new majors, while representing long-awaited good news for this year, merely represents a “sticking plaster” over the current outdated strategy by the RSPBA for funding championship competitions. 2024 may again see a competition season of only 4 majors, and unless a completely different business model is adopted, we are likely to see a funding crisis continuing in future years.

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