Forres stalwart to be chieftain at games

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John Channon
John Channon.
John Channon
John Channon.

A piper who was once pitted against Scotland’s high jump champion at the Forres Highland Games and has worked tirelessly to encourage young people into piping and drumming has been chosen as this year’s Forres Highland Games’ chieftain.

John Channon, the chairman of the Forres and District Pipe Band said he was honoured to have been chosen for the role. The Games will take place in the Moray town’s Grant Park on July 6.

John said: “I really do consider this a great honour and I am really looking forward to the day and being able to meet the stallholders, visitors, those involved in organising the Games, the judges and adjudicators and of course the competitors. It’s a great day out and I am thrilled to be this year’s Chieftain.”

John Channon (right) competed for several years in the high jump at the Forres Highland Games. He’s pictured here in 1972 with Scottish high jump champion Crawford Fairbrother.
John Channon (right) competed for several years in the high jump at the Forres Highland Games. He’s pictured here in 1972 with Scottish high jump champion Crawford Fairbrother.

It was during the 1960s and 1970s that John took part in the Forres Highland Games in the high jump and sprint. He said: “For about 12 years I took part in the high jump and sprint events. In 1972 I competed against Crawford Fairbrother in the high jump. He was the Scottish champion high jumper and that year he jumped a height of 6ft 4ins which beat me by a clear five inches. I’ll refrain from having a go this year.”

Originally from Cheshire, England John moved to Moray in 1964 when he was posted to RAF Kinloss. It was during this period that he took up piping and in 2009 joined the Forres and District Pipe Band. Now the band chairman, John has been responsible for putting together the Moray Youth Tuition Scheme which provides free tuition in piping and drumming for eight-12-year olds. The scheme has been running for three years and has seen around 60 young people learn either the pipes or drums for free. The scheme will now come to and end in its current format and will instead be taking tuition directly into the area’s schools.