The Main Hall of the RSPBA’s rebuilt headquarters.

2020 began on a happy note for some and a terrible one for others. Yesterday, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) announced the completion of the £1million restoration of its headquarters.

The building, in Washington Street, in the Anderston part of Glasgow, was engulfed in flames in March of 2017, prior to the organisation’s AGM.

The contract to undertake the work was awarded to Glasgow company, Central Building Contractors.

Chairman, John Hughes, said in a statement: “Our office staff have already moved in and are getting to know their way around the new rooms, corridors and stairway. It truly is a building every bandsman and woman can be proud of. State of the art soundproofing, custom made teaching and practice rooms, wi-fi connections a plenty – your HQ has been transformed.”

Read John’s statement in full.

Elsewhere, the first competition of the year, at the Waipu Highland Games in New Zealand, saw Liam Kernaghan of Wellington win the overall trophy in the A Grade solo competitions. Stuart Easton of Palmerston North, who played at the 2018 Glenfiddich, won the Piobaireachd. The games were held in glorious sunshine and warm temperatures.

Sadly, the devastating, prolonged fires in south east Australia have claimed the vintage bagpipe collection of Cameron Bell of New South Wales.

P.M. Willie Gray.

Mr Bell’s house has burnt completely with the result that he and his wife have lost all their possessions including an irreplaceable full silver set of MacRae bagpipes that once belonged to Pipe Major Willie Gray.

We extend our sincere sympathies to Mr Bell and indeed to all our friends Down Under at this worrying time.