Big thank you from

New Leading Tip for Bleary and District's Drum Corps

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

GRADE 1 Bleary & District have appointed a new Leading Tip to lead their drum corps in the new season. Gary Corkin, one of the most successful leading drummers in Ireland, has a wealth of experience behind him, winning every major championship title including the coveted world title in 2000 playing with the Pipes and Drums of the RUC.

He has 10 side drummers but would be pleased to hear from any tenor drummers interested in joining the band. His contact number is 077476 88467.

Bleary will also field 17 pipers under their Pipe Major Nigel Davidson and will be an outfit challenging for top honours in the new season.

The invitational William Ferguson Memorial event took place at Headquarters last Saturday. This is a competition in which one piper is selected to represent each section of the RSPBA.

The winner was Gavin Ferguson from Glasgow & West of Scotland who received a trophy and DVD's. Runner up was Jonathon Simpson from Lothian & Borders with Robert Gigg from Dumfries & Galloway in third place and Keith Bowes from Glasgow & West of Scotland in fourth position. There was no representative from Northern Ireland at this event.

The Historical Research Group set up by the RSPBA at Headquarters continues to make good progress and more and more material is emerging from a wide variety of sources. Additional items of news, stories about key individuals, photographs or items of memorabilia would, however, still be welcomed.

It has also now been decided to write and publish a detailed history of the RSPBA since its foundation as the Scottish Pipe Band Association in 1930, and the publication should be available early in 2007. If anyone can help with this project please contact RSPBA Headquarters on 0141 221 5414 or directly to Alistair Aitken 01506 882983.

Polkemmet Pipe Band have decided to disband the band after the few remaining members met at the band's annual general meeting on 18th November.

The band was 89 years old and would have celebrated their 90th anniversary in 2007.

Their Pipe Major David Barnes left recently to take over the Gradel Lothian & Borders Police band and numerous pipers left with him. Most of the drummers also departed to join other bands.

Polkemmet was one of the top three bands in West Lothian during the 1980's and 1990's. Its juvenile band bred such famous players as Robert Mathieson and Jim Kilpatrick, who joined together to lead the band to many successes in Grade 1, before leaving to take up the reins of Shotts & Dykehead after the 1986 season.

A feast of piping is in store when the 10th anniversary of the Irish Piobaireachd Society takes place on 19th January 2007 in Mill Street Co. Cork.

A recital will be held on the Friday at 8pm with the full competition getting under way at 11am on the Saturday. Adjudicators will be Andrew Wright from Dunblane and Stephen Power from Waterford.

Further information can be obtained by telephoning 00 353 87234 7651.

Ulster Star