Jim McGrath, 1942-2019

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Jim McGrath, a volunteer at the College of Piping for many years, has died in hospital. He had been diagnosed with cancer of the liver recently and it had spread.

James Prenty McGrath was born in 1942 in the Milton area of Glasgow. He was a supporter of all things piping and drumming. As a youngster he enlisted in the Gordon Highlanders and was a drummer in its pipes and drums. Joe Wilson was a piper in the band at the same time and in 2000 they were reunited through their roles at the College of Piping, Joe as an instructor and Jim as a volunteer.

Jim spent many years campaigning for service medals for those members of the Gordons who, like him, served in Malaysia in the mid-1960s.

Gordon Highlanders in Gilgil, Kenya, 1962. In front of Bn HQ building. In shirt sleeves. Back: Brian Welsh, Unknown, Cy Cruickshanks, MacMillan, Oliphant, Farmer, Cpl Jaffray, Anderson. Middle row: Willie Gow, Taylor, Sutherland, Smith, Jim McGrath, Alex Stewart, Nobby Clark, Paddy Hart, B Gregory, Stokes. Front: Sgt Joe Wilson, Eddy Makepeace, Tony King, Officer A K Brown?, DM Burton, Col Smith?, PM Cherry Anderson, Officer Fleming, Morrison, Greenlaw, Cpl Joe Kerr.

Around the time he became a volunteer at the College, Jim took up the pipes. He enrolled on the College’s Autumn School in 2000. This was the first school taught by Joe Wilson. In recent years Jim enjoyed his lessons with Willie Morrison and playing at the Veteran Pipers’ Association’s weekly gathering at the College.

He donated various personal items to the the Museum of Piping, including a bugle which had been played by a relative during the First World War. Jim maintained his support and involvement when the College was incorporated with the National Piping Centre in 2018. He remained a welcoming and friendly face on entering the building.

Some College staff and board members, circa 2001: Standing Jimmy Young, Tommy Campbell, Dugald MacNeill, Michael Martin MP, Robert Wallace, Colin Scott, Gordon Wilson. Seated Harry Teggin, Alan Minty, David Kerr, Kenny MacLean, Willie Gilmore, Jim McGrath.

Jim was also a committee member of the Scottish Pipers’ Association for many years. He was also a staunch supporter of the Scottish National Party, being a member of its Maryhill branch for some time.

He lived for many years in the Summerston area of Glasgow.

The funeral takes place at 10:00 on Monday, October 28 at the Immaculate Conception, Maryhill Road in Glasgow.