Big thank you from

Standing ovation for returning Richard at Cookstown concert 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE Mid-Ulster section of the RSPBA celebrated their 50th Annual Pipe Band and Drum Majors championships last Saturday at Cookstown High School sports arena.

This year's event marked a milestone for the Mid-Ulster section and they lived up to their promise of a special day's entertainment for everyone.

Field Marshal Montgomery took top honours in Grade 1 and it was a good result for Bleary & District when they followed in runner up place.

The winners in the rest of the grades were Ballinderry Bridge in Grade 2; Banbridge in Grade 3A; Marlacoo in Grade 313; Queen Elizabeth in 4A and Cullybackey in 4B.

The Friday evening concert organised by the Mid-Ulster section in the Burnavon Centre, which featured the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, was a resounding success.

There was a standing ovation for Pipe Major Richard Parkes as he led his band unto the stage at the start of the show.

This was the first time Richard has played in public since his illness, and the special applause he received was also in recognition of the news of his award of the MBE.

The Co. Down Pipe Band Championships will take place on Saturday 26th June at the spacious Banbridge Academy grounds, commencing at 12 noon.

The Section Secretary Mervyn Herron is delighted with the local individual sponsors to this event - especially Banbridge District Council.

There will be over 50 bands from all over Ireland and with a wide variety of attractions it promises to be a great day out for all the family. The organisers have engaged the Belfast Community Circus; The Sollus Highland Dancers from Bready; Y o u n g D r u m s Rathfriland; Banbridge Old Vehicle Club; children's entertainers plus much more.

The programme prize will be a TV/DVD Combi unit, and the section have donated a hamper to the local cancer research-group to raffle during the day for their collection funds.

This year the craft marquee will have a variety of exhibitors and this will add to the day's events. The Banbridge Tourist Office will also be in attendance with information for visitors and also to promote the European Championships, which will be held in Banbridge in 2005.

The Chieftain of the Day will be George Patton, the executive of the Ulster Scots Agency, and adjudicators will be Denver Cardwell, John Moles, Dixie Ingram, Jim Semple Alistair Aitken and Harry Russell.

The All Ireland Pipe Band Championships will be held in Letterkenny on Saturday 3rd July. This is a new venue for the competition and promises to be more suitable for all those travelling to the event.


Grade 1. 1st Field Marshal Montgomery (also best pipes and best drums). 2nd Bleary (also best bass section). 3rd Ballycoan. 4th Ravara (also M&D)

Grade 2. 1st Ballinderry Bridge (also best pipes and drums). 2nd Upper Crossgare. 3rd Cullybackey (also Best Bass section and M&D). 4th Killeen.

Grade 3A. 1st Banbridge (Best pipes and best drums ). 2 n d Tullintrain. 3rd Frank Rainey. 4th North Belfast. Best bass section - Bready. Marching & Deportment won by Quinn.

Grade 3B. 1st Marlacoo (Also best pipes). 2nd Seven Towers (also best drums). 3rd Altnaveigh. 4th Cottown (also M&D). Augharonan best bass section.

Grade 4A. 1st Queen Elizabeth (also best drums). 2nd Battlehill (also best pipes). 3rd Annsborough. 4th Sgt. Walker (also M&D). Castlerock Best bass section.

Grade 4B. 1st Cullybackey (best pipes). 2nd Letterkenny (also M&D). 3rd Monkstown. 4th McNeillstown. Banbridge Junior Best drums. Cleland Memorial best bass section.

Novice Drum Major. 1st Natasha Cherry. 2nd Kiera Wilson. 3rd Lorna Robinson. 4th Philip McGonagle. 5th Dale Fisher.

Junior. 1st Laura Jane Lawson. 2nd Elizabeth Sloan. 3rd Linzi Hamilton. 4th Emma Chambers. 5th Caroline Clydesdale.

Juvenile. 1st Donna Gillespie. 2nd Laura McComb. 3rd Alicia Dickson. 4th Ryan Ferry. 5th Ian Scott.

Senior. 1st Kathy Megarry. 2nd Ian Young. 3rd Alastair Patterson. 4th Paula Braiden. 5th Gloria Patterson.

Ulster Star