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Wester Ross pupils gain bagpipes to help them play their way to success

By Neil MacPhail

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Some of the pupils with the loaned pipes.
Some of the pupils with the loaned pipes.

Pupils at Ullapool and Gairloch are marching on the road to a life-time of piping success, thanks to an award of bagpipes, on loan from the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust. (SSPDT)

Twenty pupils at Ullapool and Gairloch High Schools and associated primary schools (Achiltibuie, Ullapool, Gairloch, Poolewe, and Bualnaluib) will benefit from the award.

Piping instructor Eddie Seaman said: “We are incredibly grateful to SSPDT for the loan of bagpipes, which have been very well received by our pupils. Ullapool and Gairloch have a rich history of piping and Scottish music, and the contribution of bagpipes through the SSPDT’s lending initiative has been greatly valuable to its continuation."

Alexandra Duncan, director of SSPDT said: “The idea is to give young players time to get to grips with the pipes and time to raise funds to buy their own set which cost upwards of £700.”

A pupil trys out new set of bagpipes.
A pupil trys out new set of bagpipes.

The charity also runs a Music Enterprise Award scheme that helps young pipers raise funds so that they can afford their own set. By playing at weddings and other events, as well as busking and other enterprising activities, young pipers can soon raise the cash they need.

Alex adds that the pipes and drums are very popular with youngsters, and help raise attainment as well as build resilience, teamwork and confidence.

The SSPDT is a registered charity promoting the playing of pipes and drums in Scottish state schools. It offers cash grants for tuition and other related band costs, free bagpipe and b-flat chanter loans, paid trainee internships, and organises the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships - the biggest schools piping competition in the world next to he held on 10 March 2024.

The trust has helped to establish piping and drumming tuition in a number of schools in the Highlands, and would welcome teachers, parents and community groups to get in touch to discuss how SSPDT can support them to bring piping and drumming tuition to schools in their local area.

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