April 30, 2010

Edinburgh City / Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band pipe-majors assemble at gala

In what may be a record for a top-grade band, eight former and current pipe-majors of the Edinburgh City Police / Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band were brought together at the organization’s band dinner celebration on Friday, April 16th, at the Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh.

The seven former pipe-majors were captured in a photograph by Stewart Gardiner, shown here. From left-to-right are Keith Dawes, Kenny McBride, George Lumsden, Colin MacLellan, Iain McLeod, Duncan Smith and Harry McNulty. The only living former pipe-major of the band missing is David Barnes, who was not in attendance.

The Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band is currently led by Ian Duncan, who accepted the position in September 2009, succeeding Barnes.


While it may not be strictly positive achievement, it is thought that this was the first time that a Grade 1 band managed to have so many pipe-majors together in one room. For the last 15 years, the Lothian & Borders Police have counted no fewer than five different leaders.

The band enjoyed a period of great stability during the legendary Iain McLeod’s term as pipe-major, under whom they won five World Championships from 1958 until he retired in 1976, giving way to Harry McNulty. McNulty was succeeded by the late Colin Forbes in 1982. George Lumsden succeeded Forbes in 1984, and then handed the band to Duncan Smith in 1988, who was followed by the late Leslie Watson and McBride, both of whom led the band for short periods, giving way eventually to MacLellan in 1999. After MacLellan departed in 2004, the band’s pipe-major was Keith Dawes for two years, who was succeeded by Barnes, and then Ian Duncan.

While the pipe-majorship has changed relatively often, Arthur Cook has been the band’s lead-drummer since 1999.

The pipe band resurrected the annual dinner for members, former members and special guests, which had not been held since 2004.


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