December 31, 2012

Colin Winstanley, 1942-2012

The Highland piping innovator Colin Winstanley of St. Annes-on-Sea, England, passed away suddenly on December 8, 2012, of a suspected heart attack. He was 70 years old.

While his creations were many, Winstanley was best known as the creator of the Universal Blowpipe, a clever ball-and-socket solution for pipers who struggled with their mouthpiece springing away when using synthetic pipe bags. In addition to its variable angle, the plastic blowpipe offered a built-in valve, a very wide aperture and an oval-shaped mouthpiece, and is played by many prominent pipers, including Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland.

Born on November 20, 1942, Colin Winstanley started piping at an early age with the Boys Brigade in Bolton, England, and to further his piping education he joined the Prince Charles Edward Pipe Band of Manchester, receiving instruction from John Waterson. Several years later, with fellow piper Frank Warburton, Winstanley formed the Bolton Scottish Pipe Band, with which he played until the early 1970s, when he joined the City of Manchester Pipe Band.

Colin Winstanley routinely provided his bagpipe making and repair services, and often gave away his products for free. One innovation that he created but never brought to market was a practice chanter that screwed together in parts and could be stowed within its top section, which became a case when dismantled.

On behalf of the world’s pipers and drummers, we extend our condolences to Colin Winstanley’s partner, Lynn, daughter, Zoe, and granddaughter, Grace, at this sad time.




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