Forres man accepts Chieftain ‘honour’ for final Piping At Forres

Piping at Forres Chairman and 2018 Chieftain Alan James at Benromach. Picture: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR & Digital

A FORRES man who has been heavily involved in Piping At Forres has been chosen to act as Chieftain for the occasion.

Alan James, managing director of one of Forres’ biggest employers, was announced as the Chieftain of Piping At Forres 2018 at a meeting held to encourage more sponsors to get involved in the 2018 European Pipe Band Championships which will take place in the town on June 30.

The meeting, hosted by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, attracted both business representatives from across Moray and Highland and people from the tourism industry.

Alan James is no stranger to Piping At Forres which is now the region’s biggest one day event and has in fact been involved with the spectacle in one way or another since it started in 2013.

Alan has acted as chairman of Forres Events Limited, the company which organises the piping and drumming spectacular, for the last two years and has performed the role of accompanying and hosting previous chieftains throughout the event.

An honour

Speaking of his appointment he said: “Being Chieftain is an honour and having accompanied last year’s Chieftain, Major General Seymour Monro, around the park, and Runrig star Donnie Munro the previous year, I have big shoes to fill.

“I am thrilled to have been asked. I thought long and hard about it as I am already involved in Piping At Forres, however, with Piping At Forres in its final year, there was no way that I could turn down the opportunity. We are very lucky in Forres as we have a significant number of public spirited volunteers including a very experienced leadership team and I appreciate the work that they do.”

Alan James began his work life as an apprentice with William Reid Engineers. He worked his way up through the ranks to become the projects director.

However, in 1998, the company went into receivership and Alan used the experience he had gained and set up AJ Engineering & Construction Services in 1999.


Guests were welcomed by pipers and a drummer from Forres & District Pipe Band

Guests to the sponsor meeting were welcomed by pipers from Forres & District Pipe Band, treated to tattie scones courtesy of Elaine Sutherland from Oakwood Cookery School, who each year organises the World Tattie Scone Contest which is held at Piping At Forres, and of course got to sample some Benromach whisky.

Eddie Tomkinson, a director with Forres Events Limited said: “We are delighted that Alan has agreed to be our Chieftain for what is to be the last in the current series of European Pipe Band Championship being held in Forres.

“In 2012 Alan, together with other local business personnel started Forres Events Limited with the aim of convincing the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association that Forres would be an ideal venue for the competition. Their efforts were rewarded because not only did we secure the initial three-year contract from 2013-15 but, because of the event’s wide success and popularity, it was awarded a further three-year contact for 2016-2018.

“Sadly two years ago two of our directors died, leaving a big gap in the leadership team and Alan agreed to take on the role of Chairman.

“It is therefore fitting that in this, our last Championship in this series, Alan not only leads the team in what will hopefully be a fantastic day for all the competitors, traders and public but also on that day he represents Forres as our Chieftain.”


Ian Chapman, Marketing Director for Benromach added: “We congratulate Alan on his appointment as Chieftain of this year’s Piping At Forres. This much anticipated event showcases the musical and cultural talents of the participants, while the attendance of locals and visitors is testament to the festival team and our local community spirit. We are immensely proud at Benromach to have been involved with Piping At Forres from the beginning, and look forward to another great year in 2018.”