Jock Agnew, 1933-2020 / New John McLellan website / Davie’s turn


We are sad to report that Jock Agnew, a very well known and popular figure in the bellows piping scene in both Scotland and England, has died.

Jock died on October 26, from chronic heart disease, aged 86.

Stuart Letford, Convenor of the Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society, said: “Jock lived in Essex but he was a frequent figure at all the LBPS’ events here in Scotland, including our annual competition and the annual collogue (conference). He was such an enthusiastic player and teacher of bellows pipes. Jock was Editor of the LBPS’ journal, Common Stock for many years, and, along with the late Martin Lowe, produced our guide for teachers and students, The Wind in the Bellows. Jock also produced his own books on bellows-blown pipes. He was certainly a major figure in the revivial of the instrument.

“Jock was in the Royal Navy for years and I remember him telling me that he used to take his pipes – highland pipes not bellows pipes – with him on board a nuclear submarine. He never did expand on how popular he was with his fellow subalterns!”

“Our condolences go to his partner, Irene.”

A new website devoted entirely to the life and music of Pipe Major John McLellan DCM has been created.

Duggy Day, pictured, is a distant relation of the famous Dunoon piper. His late mother was a great niece of McLellan, known by all who knew him as simply Jock.

Duggy told us: “My mother would often talk fondly about Jock and how proud she was of his talent and accomplishments. Shortly before her passing in 2018, I mentioned that I’d like to create a website dedicated to Jock and his legacy, and she was so pleased to hear that.

Jock McLellan, Dunoon.

“Jock actually passed away five years before I was born, which happened not too far from Dunoon stadium. 

“I noticed that information about Jock was available all over the internet but that there wasn’t a website devoted specifically to him so I created one. It’s a work in progress. I’ve also created two playlists of his music on Spotify.”

Duggy isn’t a piper himself but has enjoyed a career in music, firstly as a club DJ working in Switzerland and in Asia. He is now semi retired and recently returned to Scotland.

John McLellan composed some of piping’s greatest music including Lochanside, The Taking of Beaumont Hamel, The Road to the Isles, Southall and The Highland Brigade at Magersfontein, among many others. He also dabbled in poetry, the fiddle and whistle.

McLellan was born in Dunoon, and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal during the Boer War. In 1903, shortly after that war ended, he moved to Glasgow and joined the Govan Police Pipe Band but returned to Dunoon after a couple of year. It is not known who taught McLellan to play.

Davie Hunter.

Davie Hunter, who in recent years has produced a number of pipe collections for others, has now produced his own book.

The book, titled appropriately Now It’s My Turn, contains 55 original compositions, 49 for pipes and six for other instruments.

Davie has produced books in recent years for Fred Morrison, Ross Ainslie and the gordon Duncan Memorial Trust. His own book was compiled and produced during lockdown.

The book is avaialble, priced £14.00, from Davie’s website.