Big thank you from

European Championships for Lisburn LeisurePlex 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE third major of the 2004 season the European Championships will take place in Lisburn City at the Lagan Valley Leisureplex on Saturday, July 31.

It was five years ago that Lisburn hosted the British Championships and bands and supporters from Scotland, England, South of Ireland and all parts of Ulster converged on the town, which was a hive of activity during the competition. More than 130 bands have entered for the Lisburn competition which is the highest number of bands the RSPBA has ever taken to Ireland.

The marketing and media committee of the RSPBA have been working hard to raise the profile of the Association. Convenor Stephen McQuillan and his team have secured two one hour television programmes of the European Championships taking place in Lisburn.

These will be recorded by BBC Northern Ireland and will be seen throughout the UK on satellite television.

The week before the European Championships take place in Lisburn the North Down Pipe - Band Championships will kick off the second half of the 2004 season in Bangor on 24th July. The Northern Ireland branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association in conjunction with North Down Borough Council, have put together a fantastic days outing for all the family.

There will be fun and entertainment for all the thousands of holidaymakers that flood into the town.

The HMS Bangor will be in port for that day and all are invited to come on board, and see round the ship. Also the Royal National Lifeboat Institution will be staging 'dragon boat' racing in aid of the Malcolm Sargent cancer fund which is well worth supporting. Beach volleyball, cartoon characters and lots more fun for everyone in Bangor on the 24th July. Plan to be there.

As for the pipe band championships over 50 bands and as many drum majors have entered for this event, which will take place in Bangor Castle Grounds.

This will be the highlight of the day's entertainment and is a colourful spectacle not to be missed. Adjudicators on the day will be John Wilson Tony Sloan Colin Moffett and Denver Cardwell for piping and Billy Dunlop and Ciaran Mordaunt for drumming.

Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band will take to the stage at the Royal Concert Hall Sauchiehall Street Glasgow on 11th August 2004 for the annual 'pre-worlds' piping event.

This is the first time that Boghall & Bathgate has performed at this event, which is sponsored by Phoenix Honda Glasgow Skye Pipe Band, and all the band members are eagerly looking forward to the occasion. The band finished last season on a strong note by winning the European Pipe band Championships in Belgium.

They will be joined on stage by special guests The Whitburn band (one of the UK's top competition brass bands) and the Porridge Men.

Stewart McKenzie Pipe Major of the New Zealand Manawatu Scottish Pipe band will join Boghall as a guest player for the 2004 competition season.

Tickets for this event, which is usually a full house, are now on sale. Contact 0141 353 8000 for further information.

Ulster Star