Robert Cupples new PSNI P-M
Long-time Grade 1 leader Robert Cupples is the new pipe-major of the Pipes & Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), with seven-year incumbent and 25-year member Colin McClelland stepping down. McClelland will remain with the band.
Cupples was with the band, although under its previous Royal Ulster Constabulary name, serving as pipe-sergeant from 1999 to 2001 when the band was still in Grade 1. He was Cullybackey’s P-M when the band won the Grade 2 event at the 2007 World Pipe Band Championships, taking the band to Grade 1, before he departed in 2013.
PSNI has lately enjoyed solid success, making the Grade 2 Final at the World’s for several years and finishing fifth in 2015.
In an official PSNI release, Cupples said, “It is an honour to be asked to lead the Pipes & Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland; I have enjoyed a long association with the band. I want to thank Colin for all his hard work and commitment. He took the band back out onto the competition circuit in 2009 after an absence of several years; he has led the band to success and he delivered the promotion of the band to Grade 2. The band is firmly established amongst the top six in the World in Grade 2 having recorded a 5th place finish at the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships and my objective is to take us further. I count Colin as a very close friend and I am delighted that he will remain with us and he will assist me to ensure a seamless transition in leadership.”
McClelland added that “the timing . . . to step aside for Robert is right. I wanted to stand down as pipe-major at a time when the band was in a position of forward momentum and I feel that we are in that place. The plan is to take the band to a new level and I believe under Robert’s stewardship we can achieve that.”
PSNI numbers with several other highly successful bands based in Northern Ireland, including Field Marshal Montgomery, Ravara and Bleary, which was promoted to Grade 1 following the 2015 season.