Bob Shepherd MBE, 1938-2019 (updated with funeral details)

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Bob Shepherd pictured in 1975.
Bob Shepherd pictured in 1975.

The funeral of Bob Shepherd, who died yesterday, will take place on Tuesday, November 5 at 14:15 at Kirkcaldy Crematorium in Rosemount Ave, Kirkcaldy KY2 6HQ.

Robert Thompson Shepherd died on Thursday after an illness. He had been ill for a while.

Bob contributions to the pipe band world were immense, to say the least. Indeed, there are various individuals who changed the face of pipe bands – Donald Shaw Ramsay, Ian McLellan and Richard Parkes come immediately to mind – and history will include Bob Shepherd’s name in any such list of pipe band innovators.

He was a Fifer, born and bred in Lochore, a small mining community. He was aged 10 when he started to learn through the Lochore Juvenile band. He soon progressed to Dundonald Colliery, the band that became Dysart & Dundonald. The band was well supported by the community: each miner at the colliery had a penny a week deducted from his wages to help band funds. (Bob played with Dundonald before and after National Service with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.)

In 1958 the band won the Grade 2 World Championship. Dundonald Colliery closed in 1965 but the Francis Colliery in nearby Dysart decided to adopt the band which then became known as Dysart and Dundonald Pipe Band. Robert Shepherd took over as Pipe Major when Pipe Major Robert MacKay retired in the summer of 1966 after 16 years’ service.

On taking over, he began teaching piping to the youngsters at Ballingry School and within a short number of years he achieved major successes with them which culminated with winning the Grade 1 Worlds in 1977 and 1978.

Bob stepped down in the early 1980s to devote his attention to his pipe- and reed-making business in Cardenden. His products became popular very quickly with solo pipers and pipe bands. They still are. He also became an RSPBA judge.

He was awarded the Member of the British Empire medal in 2002.

A full obituary will appear in the November Piping Times.

We extend our condolences to wife Dorothy and all of their family and friends, and also his colleagues at the business.