IN the Queen's New Year list of honours Norman Dodds added yet another award to the many he has received in his distinguished career.
He received a 'Members of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)' for his services to pipe band music. Norman started piping at the early age of 5 tutored by his father. Afterwards he received tuition from Norman McCutcheon until the age of 20 and won all of the major titles in Ireland at juvenile and senior level.
He has many solo piping victories to his credit including winner of the All Ireland senior solos on six occasions, winner of the Seven Towers solos for 5 years running, and the Co. Down solos and the Donaghmore solos four years running.
He started to teach seriously in 1980 and since them has tutored many players of note including Lenny Brown, KenStewart, David Caldwell, the late Roy McNally, Ryan and Clive McFarland, Michelle and Jemma Redman, Lindsay McNicholl.
Charles Noir, Alan McPherson, young Bradley Parker and of course Robert Watt, who has now reached gold medal status.
Norman is well known for his dedication to his pupils, giving selflessly of his time and expertise in encouraging and teaching them and this honour is well deserved. Congratulations Norman on your award from all in the pipe band fraternity.
A Charity Piping and Drumming night has been planned to take place in the Royal Hotel Cookstown on Saturday February 23 from 6pm to 10pm.
Organised by Gary Smyth, this evening will see the cream of many of the best pipers and drummers gathered in one place in aid of the Fort Riding Centre for Disabled children in Maghera.
This worthwhile event has attracted Barry Wilson (Scottish Power Pipe Band Scotland) the reigning
2007 world solo drumming champion; Jim Kilpatrick (House of Edgar) Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band) the 16 times world solo drumming champion; Steven McWhirter (Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Canada) the 2006 world solo drumming champion; Eric Ward (Strathclyde Police Pipe Band Scotland) the 2007 Scottish and European Drum Corp champions; Stephen Creighton (St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band Republic of Ireland) the 2006 World drum corp. champions; Gavin Noade (Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band) the 2007 world pipe band champions; and William Glenholmes (Cullybackey Pipe Band) the 2007 Grade 2 world pipe band and drum corp. champions.
Then for piping there will be Stuart Liddell (Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Canada) Men Tully (St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band); Chris Armstrong (Scottish Power Pipe Band Scotland; and Andrew Carlisle (Field Marshal Montgomery).
Also introduced in the evening event will be Northern Ireland's Youth piper Alan McPherson, drummer Dean Smyth and Scotland's Youth drummer Cameron Ward.
This is surely a line up of talent no piper or drummer would want to miss and given that all proceeds will go to such a worthy charity, it is a must date for your diary next year.
Admission is only £10 and is payable at door. Plan to come early. Contact Gary Smyth for more details on 07814446179.
The pipe band world has been saddened to learn of the death of Sandy McGimpsey, who died on Friday January 4.
Sandy was a well known figure around the pipe band scene and was associated with the Dr. Wright Memorial Pipe band for 50 years. He held the role of drum sergeant and was pipe major for 39 of those years. Quite a unique achievement. Deepest sympathy is extended to all his family and friends.