Bute pupils wins national pipe band event

The Isle of Bute Schools Pipe band were crowned champions in the debut category at the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship.
The Isle of Bute Schools Pipe band were crowned champions in the debut category at the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship.

Young pipers and drummers from Bute were crowned champions at their first Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship on Sunday.

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust event was held at Inveralmond Community High School, with more than 130 pipe bands from across the country competing.

Alister Booth (14) of The Isle of Bute Schools Pipe Band with the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship.

Alister Booth (14) of The Isle of Bute Schools Pipe Band with the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship.

The Isle of Bute Schools Band, made up of 21 pupils aged nine to 17 from Rothesay Academy and the island’s three primary schools, were crowned champions in the debut category with each judge awarding the band first place.

Jane Gillies from Rothesay Pipe Band, which tutors them, said: “It’s a superb achievement. It’s fantastic to see them all starting to get to a standard where they can go out and not just play but compete.

“It’s the result of a lot of hard work – from the kids, their parents and the tutors.

“We had a great support on the day. The bus was full. It makes all the difference.

“Even the parents’ support at home to keep practicing really helps. Sometimes they practice and practice and don’t feel they are improving, and then all of a sudden it happens. A huge well done to them all for practising so much.”

The pupils all receive tuition through Rothesay Pipe Band’s school tutoring programme which is now in its third year. There are more than 80 young people taking weekly lessons from Neil Gillies, Euan McNabb and Russell Esler.

Jane added: “We have got our school tutoring programme which the pipe band funds with a mix of donations, grants and fundraising. We can now see that has followed through with this success.

“It just takes time to master the instrument and come together as a band. It all came together on Sunday, which was quite nice.

“The programme is more and more popular, but this is the final year of our funding. The next thing now is trying to even employ the tutors for more hours.

“We have 85 kids at the moment and can’t take anymore. We are the victim of our own success. We have got a waiting list for kids wanting to learn but we can only do what we can with the money and resources that we have.”