August 31, 2010

Faye Henderson wins Oban Gold Medal – first ever female winner

Oban, Scotland – August 25, 2010 – Faye Henderson of Kirriemuir, Scotland, became history’s first female winner of the Highland Society of London  Gold Medal, playing “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay” at the Argyllshire Gathering. Henderson won the award 36 years to the day that her mother, Patricia Henderson (nee Innes), and Anne Spalding (nee Stewart),  broke the gender barrier at the major gatherings by becoming the first female pipers to be allowed to compete. Faye Henderson’s win was also 30 years after her father, Murray Henderson, won his Highland Society of London Gold Medal at Oban.

At 18 years old, Henderson is one of the youngest Gold Medal winners ever, taking the prize in her first year competing for the award. She had finished fourth in the Silver Medal at Oban in 2009. She was second-last to compete in the 30-piper event. Her father also played second-last when he won his Oban medal. John D. Burgess was the youngest winner of the award, taking both the Oban and Inverness medals in 1950 at the age of 16, a record that cannot be broken unless the competitions reduce the minimum age to compete in the events.

Earlier, Dr Angus MacDonald of Portree, Scotland, won the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering, while Craig Sked of South Africa took the Silver Medal.

Gold Medal
1st Faye Henderson, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
2nd Chris Armstrong, Airth, Scotland
3rd Douglas Murray, Cupar, Scotland
4th Fiona Manson, Glasgow
5th Cameron Drummond, Edinburgh

Judges: Willie Morrison, Tom Speirs, Jack Taylor

Also competing but not in the prizes were Callum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland; Andrea Boyd, Glasgow; Glenn Brown, Glasgow; Jori Chisholm, Seattle; Margaret Dunn, Glasgow; Brendon Eade, New Zealand; William Geddes, Glasgow; Michael Gray, Edinburgh; Jonathan Greenlees, Belfast; Andrew Hayes, Ottawa; Marion Horsburgh, New Zealand; Finlay Johnston, Glasgow; Martin Kessler, Germany; Colin Lee, Vancouver; James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada; Donald MacPhee, Alexandria, Scotland; Simon McKerrell, Lenzie, Scotland; John Mulhearn, Troon, Scotland; Andrew Rogers, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada; Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland; Innes Smith, Bridge of Allan, Scotland; John-Angus Smith, London; Neil Smith, Balfron, Scotland; Gavin Walker, Stirling, Scotland; and David Wilton, Glasgow.

Senior Piobaireachd
1st Dr. Angus MacDonald (“The Old Woman’s Lullaby” and “The Aged Warrior’s Sorrow”)
2nd Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
3rd Iain Speirs, Edinburgh (“Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod” and “Left Hand”)
4th Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Judges: John MacDougall, Iain MacFadyen, Colin MacLellan

Silver Medal
1st Craig Sked, “Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute”
2nd Derek Midgley, Tinton Falls, New Jersey, “The Big Spree”
3rd Tracey Williams, “I Got A Kiss of the King’s Hand”
4th Alex Gandy “The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute”
5th  Alastair Lee, Vancouver, “Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute”

Judges: Malcolm McRae, John  Wilson, Andrew Wright

MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd
1st Gavin Fergusson, Campbeltown, Scotland
2nd Bradley Parker, Northern Ireland
3rd George Stewart, Perth, Scotland
4th Elizabeth Sheridan, Oakville, Onatrio, Canada

Judges: Alan Forbes, Ronnie McShannon, Bob Worrall

Silver Star Former Winners’ MSR
1st Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland
2nd Angus MacColl
3rd Jack Lee
4th Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland

Judges: Walter Cowan, Bruce Hitchings, Iain MacLellan

pipes|drums published the Gold Medal and Silver Star results first, before they were officially revealed.


  1. Congratulations to all the competitors and prize winners but Faye Henderson’s history-making result is truly fabulous. What a great achievement!!!!

  2. A great day for piping, and especially women in piping. I can’t help but think of Rona MacDonald Lightfoot, one of the greatest pipers to have never won the Gold Medal and certainly would have if she had been born a man.

  3. Very well done hen, the buzz circulating around the Corran Halls last night before announcement about who won ”The Medal” was you, you, you! from the youngest recipient of the ”Silver Medal back in 1985” to the first of our lady pipers in history… Slainte’ Faye. My warmest congratulations. Good luck in Inverness and of course ”The Glenfiddich” Your parents will be delighted and as the saying goes ”Over the moon” (words of wisdom) Pipe Major Donald MacLeod always gave the young men and woman encouragement after his recitals and workshops back in the day… ”The Sky’s the limit, the world’s your oyster, and my advice is to GO for it” Pipe Major Gordon Walker

  4. While being the first female to win it is nice, I’m with a lot of people when I say I’m amazed at the age. I suppose it would be like winning the Daytona 500 before 16. And if Gordon Walker ever laid a congrats on me like that I’d retire (I’m weak).



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