May 31, 2010

Neil Cranston, 1964-2010

Neil Cranston, a snare drummer in the Boghall & Bathgate Pipe Band organization for 33 years and a drummer with the Grade 1 band, died suddenly on May 5th at his home in Bathgate, Scotland. The suspected cause was a brain hemorrhage.

Cranston, a popular figure on the pipe band world and especially in the close-knit West Lothian scene, was born on June 4, 1964, and started drumming with the Boghall & Bathgate teaching program in the mid-1970s. He was part of the famous Tuesday night classes that legendary drummer Tom Brown conducted, attending with current Boghall & Bathgate Lead-Drummer Gordon Brown.

By 1977 Cranston was competing with the Novice Juvenile band and in February of that year won the World Juvenile Solo Drumming Championship. The Novice Juvenile drum corps won all five of the major championships that year, setting up the organization for the drumming strength that it has enjoyed ever since.

As would be expected, the band was in shock over the news. Many of the Boghall & Bathgate drummers gathered on the evening of May 5th to remember and toast Cranston, “in true pipe band fashion,” according to one close friend.

On behalf of pipers and drummers everywhere, we extend our sympathy to Neil Cranston’s numerous friends and family at this sad time.


  1. A sad and great loss to the piping world. Neil was a Boghall drummer through and through. He will be sorely missed on the circuit. My thoughts and condolences to his family. Stuart Shedden

  2. Neil was a gentleman… A big loss to Boghall, the pipe band community and also the Scottish Dance Band scene where he also figured prominently as the drummer with The Pentland Ceilidh Band.. Thoughts with his family and the Boghall guys.. Stuart Cassells

  3. My thoughts are with the band and with Neil’s family. Neil was a big inspiration to me as a kid when I was over watching the Adult World Solo final. A cracking player and a gentleman.



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