Forres Pipe Band will play at Euros

Gordon Roy was the star of a video promoting Piping At Forres

A PIPE Major who became an internet sensation when he appeared in a video promoting Piping At Forres has said he is delighted his band will be taking part.

Gordon Roy who leads the Forres & District Pipe Band has confirmed that the band will be taking part in this year’s event.

But he said, that whilst the Grade 4B band is looking forward to the event, running a pipe band is becoming increasingly difficult due to recruitment.

Gordon said: “We actually decided relatively late that we were going to take part in the European Pipe Band Championships as we were not sure we would have enough people to make up the band. It should be a given that the band from the town that holds event take part, but we were not sure we would manage. It would have been unfortunate had we not been able to get something together, but we have managed and we are really looking forward to it.”

He added: “We have around 30 playing members who age between 12 and 73 years old, but the problem lay with the drumming. We just couldn’t recruit enough drummers. However, we are delighted that this problem is now solved and we have been practising to prepare for the Championships.

“This isn’t a problem that is unique to Forres, we are in touch with pipe bands throughout the country and everyone is feeling the difficulties.”

To address the issue of getting new members, Forres & District Pipe Band has a vigorous youth training programme and offers tuition on the pipes and drums free of charge to anyone in the local area who wishes to learn.

“Our free training programme has been up and running for about a year. It was the brainchild of our chairman and piper John Channon who saw a real need for it and the programme is working. What we are seeing is that there is a desire for young people to learn this skill,” explained Gordon. “It is part of Scotland’s history and heritage and we feel we have a duty to ensure that it doesn’t die out. Whilst we have had a few problems over the last couple of years, we believe that through our recruitment programme we will be creating pipers and drummers for generations to come and that is something that feels great.”

Gordon hit the spotlight in May when a promotional video for Piping At Forres went viral on social media. Gordon was filmed playing Flower of Scotland at numerous historical locations in and around Forres including Nelson’s Tower and Brodie Castle. The film was viewed almost 30,000 times and reached over 72,000 people on Facebook.

Speaking on the success of the film, Gordon said: “I had great fun filming, it was long day and never have I had to play the same tune so many times in one day, but it was worth it. I was delighted to be asked by the team at Piping At Forres, but never did I expect it get such a huge response.”

This year, Piping At Forres, which is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs and new to this year an interactive science tent.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

If you want to find out more about the Forres & District Pipe Band contact the band secretary Elaine Mcallister at elaine_mcallister@aol.com or call  01309 676736.