We are sorry to report the passing last night of Owen Nash. Owen was a very well known figure in piping, particularly in Manchester and the wider north of England. He died at home where he was receiving 24-hour palliative care following six months of ill health and admittance to hospital.
Owen was taught, firstly, by Ted Philbin who was a founder of the Kerry pipers in 1935 and was responsible for starting many pipers in the Manchester area. On Ted’s death in 1976, Owen wrote his obituary in the Piping Times and played at his funeral.
Owen played in Rose Fletcher’s pipe band which won the All England pipe band Championship in 1959. At that time Owen was the only male piper. In 1960 the band became Rose Fetcher Ladies and Owen was made redundant. He married Rose Fletcher’s daughter, Pauline in 1962.
In 1974, Owen attended a weekend teaching course at Edinburgh Castle. From 1975 to 1978 he contributed regular reports for the Piping Times on the piping scene in northern England.
Owen competed with success in the Scottish Pipe Band Association’s NW England branch solo events but in the early 1970s was appointed Pipe Major of the City of Manchester Pipe Band (Grade 3), which by 1975 City of Manchester Grade 3 band had so many members that a second band was started which competed in Grade 4. In the 1990s Owen was appointed Pipe Major of West Yorkshire Fire Service Pipe Band 1990s.
Both these bands competed regularly in Scotland, including at the Worlds and Cowal, throughout the 1970s and 1990s.
Owen was involved in founding the North West England Piping Society which ran recitals and competitions in Manchester. Its first recital was in February 1992 when the players were Gordon Duncan and Fred Morrison. Its first competition was in April 1994 when the judge was Chief Inspector Allan Hamilton, Strathclyde Police. Owen was a life-long friend of Mr Hamilton (of Pipers’ Persuasion), whom he met at a College of Piping Summer School in the late 1950s.
Owen and Pauline were regulars to the Glenfiddich – 1999 was Owen’s 17th consecutive visit. They also attended many other recitals and events which Owen often video’d and was generous in making and sharing copies. Most of the footage on BBC Alba’s 2012 documentary about Gordon Duncan, Just for Gordon, was from footage taken by Owen over many years..
We pass on our condolences to Owen’s family.