Big thank you from

World champion bands honoured by RSPBA 

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE 2005 world championship pipe bands will be honoured at a special function organised by the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA this Friday (November 25).

Receiving this honour will be the Seven Towers (3A), Ann borough (3B), Castlerock (4A) Drumlough (4B) and the only wining drum major Donna Gillespie.

Ravara drum corps Marlacoo drum corps and Sgt Walker drum corps will also be honoured.

The Ulster Youth Ensemble under the direction of Sam Bailie, and whom the Rural Development Council sponsors, will be providing the music.

Please note the change of venue for this function. It will now be held at the Plaza Hotel at Belfast International Airport Aldergrove at 7.30pm.

The Grade 2 Polkemmet Pipe Band from Scotland, one of Scotland's oldest civilian bands has appointed Alistair McNabb to the position of leading drummer taking over from James King who retired after the 2005 season.

In a statement from Polkemmet, it said that it is hoped that under Alistair's guidance the drum corps will be able to recruit the calibre of players required to progress towards Grade 2 championship winning status and ultimately to Grade 1.

There have been other changes to the personnel of some pipe bands for the new 2006 season.

In Grade 1 L.A.Scots, Andy Brubaker has replaced Andrew Hoinachi as Leading Tip. According to Pipe Major Colin Armstrong the band is rebuilding its ranks in preparation for the competition arena next year.

Andrew Hoinacki will not rejoin any band and will instead focus on his teaching, adjudicating and solo career.

Also in Grade 1, Liza McAdam has stepped down from Leading Tip of Prince Charles and will be replaced by Duncan MacPherson.

The Howard Memorial Pipe Band from Dungannon under the instruction of Brendan Murphy and Graham Megarrity, are looking for additional players - pipers and drummers. Please contact the following telephone numbers for further information. 07733 161369, 07718 522126 or 028 37511402.

The annual solo piping competition, featuring many of the top solo pipers, north and south of Ireland, will be held in the Fort Bar, Scotch Street Dungannon on Saturday November 26 at 1pm.

The adjudicator will be world champion Pipe Major Richard Parkes from the Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and who him-self is a top solo player.

A few weeks ago it was reported that all competitions had been arranged for next season except for Newcastle and Bangor where there still were a few last minute problems to sort out.

The good news is that after some discussion with the Councils and the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA both these events now have the go ahead and will take place in those venues next year.

The pipe band competition attract a large crowd of bands people and their supporters to the town where it is been held, so this will be welcome news for all the traders in Newcastle and Bangor.

Please note that there will be no branch meeting in the month of November owing to the Annual General Meeting been held on November 12.

It is with regret that we record the sudden death of Jim Gibson from Dromore.

Jim was a well-known figure in the pipe bands and his son James and daughter Clare have both featured in the top places at solo piping competitions.

The sympathy of every-one in the Northern Ireland branch of the RSPBA is extended to his wife, son, daughter and all family members.

Ulster Star