John Weatherston, one of the most accomplished Pipe-Majors of the 1900s, died of cancer on March 2, 2003, at the age of 85.
In 1962, as leader of the 227 Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Regiment (Territorial Army) Pipe Band, Weatherston won the World Pipe Band Championship. He was perhaps best known throughout the 1960s and early ’70s as Pipe-Major of the Red Hackle Pipe Band, which won several major championships, but managed only as high as second place in the World Championship. Red Hackle brought Weatherston closer than any Pipe-Major to winning world titles with two separate bands.
Under Weatherston’s direction, Red Hackle made a musical mark. With lead drummer Wilson Young, the band made several recordings in the 1960s and ’70s that used other instruments, including well known renditions with a full pipe organ. Weatherston was known as being relatively musically open-minded, allowing Young to experiment with and expand the use of bass and tenor drums.
After leaving bands, Weatherston was a frequent judge with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. He retired from judging in the 1980s due to declining health.
John Weatherston and Robert Hardie combined in 1950 to create R.G. Hardie & Co., one of the most successful Highland bagpipe makers of the 1900s. After Hardie’s death, Weatherston assumed full control of the operation, which he subsequently gave to his daughter who sold the business several years ago.
On behalf of John Weatherston’s survivors, family and friends, we extend our condolences.