IN his welcome to the bands people and supporters, George Ussher President of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said:
"Today we are delighted to present one of the most spectacular gatherings of cultural music and dancing to be seen and heard anywhere in the World. Over three thousand musicians and dancers will be performing in the various grades here in Ballymena for the title of British Champion."
And what a successful day out it was for all the Ulster pipe bands and drum majors. Our bands won six grades and all three sections of the drum majoring events crushing the challenge from the Scottish, English and South of Ireland bands to win the British Championship crown.
Field Marshal Montgomery with Pipe Major Richard Parkes took the top honours in Grade 1, with Ravara under Pipe Major Sammy Connolly in Grade 2.
Annsborough in 3A under Pipe Major Brendan Mullen; Pipe Major Ian Burrows and Drumlough in 3B; Pipe Major Mark Dunlop and Killadeas in 4A (who also won the drumming title) and finally Pipe Major Nigel Hodgen and Moneygore in 4B.
Drumlough Pipe Band secured their second major championship win this season and are well on their way to making a strong challenge for the world title in August which will gain their promotion to 3A.
Brian Wilson won the senior drum major title with Ryan Ferry the Juvenile and Dale Fisher the Junior one.
Other bands to make the prize list were Cullybackey (2nd place in Grade 2) Seven Towers (4th place in Grade 2) Aughintober (6th place in 3A) Killen (3rd place in 3B and winners of the best drum corps) Raffrey (5th place in Grade3B) Dr.Wright Memorial (3rd in Grade 4B) Bready Ulster-Scots (4th place in 4B) and Antrim (6th in 4B).
And at the Finale there was a surprise visit from First Minister Ian Paisley who praised the bands for their splendid display of musical talent and said that he looked forward to the day when a world pipe band championship would take place in Northern Ireland.
As the extra competition to take place in Newtownards on June 30 has been cancelled, the next event will be the 62nd All Ireland Championships on July 7, which will take place in Donard Park Newcastle Co. Down.
This year 54 bands have entered for the competition. It is hoped the BBC will be there to televise the whole event and as in the past this has always proved to be an entertaining show.
There will then be a one-week break for the holidays with the competitions recommencing on Saturday July 21 with the North Down Pipe band Championships in Bangor.
Grade I - 1st. F.M.Montgomery. 2nd. Boghall & Bathgate (also best drums). 3rd. Strathclyde Police. 4th.House of Edgar-Shotts and Dykehead. 5th. Robert Wiseman Dairies Vale of Atholl. 6th. St.Laurence O'Toole.
Grade 2 - 1st. Ravara. 2nd. Cullybackey. 3rd.Torphichen & Bathgate (on ensemble pref) 4th Seven Towers. 5th. Durnfries and Galloway. (also best drums) 6th. Phoenix Honda Glasgow Skye.
Grade 3A - 1st. Annsborough. 2nd. Pitlochry and Blair Atholl. 3rd. University of Strathclyde.(also best drums) 4th. Williamwood. 5th. Johnstone. 6th. Aughintober.
Grade 3B - 1st. Drumlough. 2nd. Cullen. 3rd. Killen. (also best drums) 4th. City of Brechin. 5th. Raffrey. 6th. Lanark and District.
Grade 4A - 1st. Killadeas. (also best drums) 2nd. Kirkcaldy. 3rd. Troon Blackrock. 4th. Derryclavin. 5th.Kirkcudbright. 6th. St.Laurence Howth.
Grade 4B - 1st. Moneygore. 2nd. Burntisland & District. (also best drums) 3rd. Dr. Wright Memorial. 4th.Bready Ulster Scots. 5th. Antrim. 6th. East Kilbride.
Senior Drum Majors - 1st. Brian Wilson. 2nd. Paula Braiden. 3rd. David Brownlee. 4th. Grant Craig. 5th. Kathy Megarry Calvin. 6th. Alan Morton.
Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Calum Brown. 3rd. Linzi Hamilton. 4th. Andrew Symon. 5th. Samantha Gordon. 6th. Gemma McKinney
Junior - 1st. Dale Fisher. 2nd. Lorna Robinson. 3rd. Iona Burns. 4th. Bethan Martin. 5th. Gary Scanlon. 6th. Emma Barr.