The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) has suspended Pipe-Major George Shepherd of the Grade 1 Clan Gregor Pipe Band for four months. The decision was made on March 11 in conjunction with the Association’s annual general meeting.
Shepherd was convicted by Glasgow District Court on March 3, and given an admonishment for throwing a drink on Sharleen Donaldson, a tenor drummer with the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band. The incident occurred at The Snaffle Bit pub in Glasgow after the Scottish Pipe Band Championships at Dumbarton on May 21, 2005.
During the four-month suspension, Shepherd cannot compete with Clan Gregor, although, according to him, he will still be Pipe-Major, run practices, and even set up the band at competitions.
“During this period I cannot compete at Dumbarton [the Scottish Pipe Band Championships on May 20] or Pitlochry [the British Pipe Band Championships on June 24],” Shepherd said in a statement to Piper & Drummer Online. “This, however, will not prevent me from setting the band up. The band on these days will be led onto the park by Pipe-Sergeant David Clunie, himself an ex-pipe-major.”
Sharleen Donaldson is the daughter of Barry Donaldson, an inspector with the Strathclyde Police force and a very well known piper and judge.
The popular Scottish newspaper, The Daily Record, reported the story in its March 11, 2006, edition. Shepherd contends that he has reported Inspector Donaldson for “Harassment, Abuse of Position and contravention of the Data Protection Act.” He alleges that The Daily Record will publish a follow-on story.
Shepherd said about the RSPBA’s move to suspend him: “I find this outrageous. Especially given the fact that the incident happened in a public bar outwith the auspices of the RSPBA.”
Ian Embelton, executive officer of the RSPBA, was quoted in The Daily Record article as saying, “Anything which brings the Association into disrepute we are not happy with.”
The RSPBA stated to Piper & Drummer Online that it does not comment on disciplary matters.
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