Published: March 31, 2000

Pipe Major Tommy Thompson Dies

Tommy Thompson of Selkirk, Manitoba, died yesterday after several months of illness.

Tommy was born in Scotland, and following service in the Royal Scots, was a member of the World Champion Shotts & Dykehead bands of the 1960s. Tommy emmigrated to Winnipeg in the mid-1960s, where he was a founding member of the Grade 1 Centennial Pipe Band. The Centennial Pipe Band featured many ex-Scots with top experience, including P/M Ian Conn (ex-Shotts) and lead drummer Jim Barrie, the one-time amateur world drumming champion, and lead drummer of the Grade 2 World Champion Lady Victoria Colliery Pipe Band.

Tommy’s dedication to teaching and organizing spanned many years. He eventually became the pipe major of the Centennial Pipe Band, and was responsible for the development of many young players in the Winnipeg area.

He became active in the Prairie Pipe Band Association, and was for many years on the executive, including several years as President. He taught for many years at the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts at Fort San, and he was responsible for the Peace Gardens Summer School on the Manitoba/USA border for many years.

Part of his work with piping included organizing Highland Games. Tommy played a key role in organizing a number of events, including the Winnipeg Centennial Games in 1974, and many years of the Selkirk Highland Games.

Tommy was involved with the Stirling-Centennial Pipe Band (Grade 2) in Manitoba, including a stint as pipe major, and for many years he instructed and played with the Selkirk and District Pipe Band (Grade 2) in Selkirk, Manitoba. For the last several years, Tommy has instructed and played with the Glenaura Pipe Band of Winnipeg.

Tommy was a shop teacher in Selkirk until his recent retirement, and his easy-going approach was appreciated by the many people with whom he worked, including at least two generations of young prairie pipers.

Iain MacDonald is Pipe Major of the Grade 2 City of Regina Pipe Band.

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