Scottish pipe band’s incredible Christmas fundraiser / Photo mysteries / NPC’s Adult Gatherings online for 2021

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Members of Kilsyth Pipe Band on Saturday night after their incredible fundraiser. Young solo piper, Bobby Allen, who lives in the nearby village of Chrsyton, also took part.

Kilsyth Thistle Pipe Band’s 12 hour ‘Pipe and Drum Marathon’ took place on Saturday … and raised an incredible £11,551 for Christmas presents for children in the Stirlingshire town.

Members of the band played around the town and the surrounding villages of Banton, Croy and Queenzieburn from 09:00 onwards. All members adopted the Scottish Government’s coronavirus guidelines.

Jim Todd, the band’s Pipe Major said: “As with elsewhere, many people here have become unemployed because of the devastating effects of the pandemic and this has left many parents worrying about what, if any, Christmas they could give their children.

“A few members of the band usually play around pubs in Glasgow at this time of year to collect donations for good causes. This year, clearly we couldn’t perform around pubs so we devised the idea of doing this ’12 hour marathon’ instead and to have any funds raised go to local children this Christmas.

“We thought if we could raise £500 that it would be a big help to those in most need. To raise £11,500+ is just fantastic.”

Already, approximately 150 presents have been purchased with a further 300 donated. Jim added: “Toys and games have been handed out to a number of schools, nurseries and deserving causes in the town and a cash donation will be made to a specific fundraiser for a young local girl.”

Kilsyth Food Bank also received a cash donation.


We have more photograph mysteries which we hope readers can help solve. The first query is from Dr James Westbrook of Brighton, England. He would like to know more information about these two unidentified framed photographs [below] that have come into his possession. The photograph on the left shows a man in kilt and was apparently taken in Ideal Studios, Edinburgh. The other photograph shows a man with a set of great highland bagpipes.



Dr Westbrook tells us the photographs formed part of a collection of musical instrument-related images.

Our second query is from Paul Nottingham who writes: “I have this old painting [below] which has a note on the reverse in Dutch. Translated into English, it reads:

‘This gentleman stayed with me in the year 1855, a master of ceremony of the Scottish court who his late Royal Highness Prince Alexander son of King Willem II and Queen Anne Paulowna. [the sentence is not completely correct]. ‘This gentleman has let come the queen and king to surprise at a Scottish Masquerade ball wherefore also the costumes had come.

‘A T Harmelijn [?] valet [servant] of late Prince Alexander who died at Madeira

‘A T Harmelijn [?] returned from Madeira with the corps and assisted so his Royal Highness until the last moment’ …

Paul is trying to identify the piper. Perhaps someone recognises his regiment from his uniform?

The reference to a “master of ceremony of the Scottish court” is interesting. Of course, in 1855 there was no Scottish court as such but weknow that the British Ambassador in the Hague at this time was one Ralph Abercromby, 2nd Baron Dunfermline. Paul speculates that the Dutch court asked Mr Abercromby to provide a piper and that this individual was known to him. Maybe he was his family piper?.

Can readers help? As ever, please contact us in the usual way.


As 2020 draws to a close with piping activity set to remain online for much of 2021, the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland has announced details of its popular Adult Gatherings.

A formidable line-up. Clockwise: Finlay MacDonald, Margaret Dunn, Connor Sinclair, Dr Andrew Bova, Wilson Brown and Ross Ainslie.

The organisation usually holds four of these schools throughout the year. The four for 2021 will be held online although the organisation hopes to add in-person schools later in the year.

The first Adult Gathering of 2021 will run from January 25-28 and feature individual lessons, workshops, masterclasses and practice time. An impressive line up of teachers has been confirmed: Finlay MacDonald, Connor Sinclair, Margaret Dunn, Wilson Brown, Dr Andrew Bova and Ross Ainslie.

• Book a place here.

The remaining three online Adult Gatherings will run from April 26-29, July 26-29 and November 1-4