AT the recent celebration in the Island Centre Lisburn for this year's world champion pipe bands and drum majors, the Northern Ireland branch also honoured some of its long serving members.
Mervyn Mayes, who has served as trophy officer for some 30 years, received a gift of a watch from Kenny Crothers the Branch's treasurer.
Also honoured was Edith McVeigh who was one of the compiling team for 25 years. Her uncle, vice president John Crozier, presented her with a gift of a silver necklace.
Lorraine McVeigh, who also was a member of the compilers team for many years, and who has for the past three years has served in the demanding role of branch secretary, received a gift of a necklace from Fred Walker. Fred had served the branch for over 37 years as branch secretary.
At the branch meeting held in Lisburn recently, it was disclosed that quite a number of players have been recruited for the youth band which is been organised within the branch.
Indeed the proposed number has been exceeded but these extra names will be kept in reserve for the future.
At the National Council meeting of the RSPBA it was proposed and accepted that all winning band members at next year's 75th anniversary of the world pipe band championships will receive winners' medals as a keepsake of the special occasion.
Alasdair Henderson of the Glasgow & West of Scotland branch won the Pipe Major Willie Ferguson Memorial competition held recently at the Robert Gordon College in Aberdeen. Cameron Drummond and Jonathan Simpson, both from the Lothian & Borders branch, were second and third with Fraser Maitland from the North of Scotland branch in fourth.
Representing Northern Ireland was Mark Ferguson from Finvoy Pipe Band who had a good performance but just failed to make the prize list.
Walter McKibben will have his invaluable Officials and Programme of Events booklet available very soon. This book has all the details of officials, committees, meetings and forthcoming events.
He can be contacted at 62 Larch Grove, Dunmurry, BT17 9QF (tel. no. 9061 0198). Don't forget the calendars from contest secretary Mervyn Herron, which feature coloured photographs of all the world champion pipe bands and drum majors.
Also the dates of every contest and event is clearly set out for each month. Mervyn's telephone is 40 624849.
A Bums Night supper will be held on Friday 28 January 2005 in the Europa Hotel, Belfast from 8pm to 1am.
Entertainment will be from the Grade One 2004 world pipe band champions Field Marshal Montgomery under the direction of Pipe Major Richard Parkes.
There will also be performances from South City Highland dancers, a Side drum display team, cabaret band and Club Band Fusion. Tickets coast £20, which includes the meal, and these can be obtained from John Dean by telephoning 90 321766 or 90 244979.
It is good to hear that Raffrey Pipe band, who have been missing from the competition arena for some time now, will be out competing next season.
They will under the direction of their new pipe major Francis Strain, who originally piped with the band as a boy. Francis will also continue to play with Grade 1 Bleary & District.
Marlacoo, who next year will be competing in Grade 3A, have a new leading tip. He is Richard Coffey, who was the leading drummer with Woodgrange for some years and who has won many top honours. He replaces Noel Hyndes who will take over the role of bass drummer with the band.