Peebles Ex-Servicemen's
Pipe Band


News Archive


AGM & Presentation Night 2015

Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Pipe Band held its AGM and Presentation Night on Wednesday 9th December. Once again it proved to be an extremely popular night with over 70 family members, friends, supporters and guests attending to hear our youngest members play for them. Once the formalities of the AGM were completed the youngsters did us all proud by performing on chanter, pipes, stick and pads or side drum. They played solo or in small groups and the whole Band played to bring the evening to a conclusion. It was an extremely successful and enjoyable night and meant that the year finished on a real high.



Each year, at the Presentation Night we present several trophies to those learners and Band members who have excelled during the year. All the learners are presented with medals and certificates as a token of appreciation for all their hard work and commitment. The tutors always have an incredibly difficult task in choosing the winners as there is so much talent evident throughout the year.


The recipients of the awards were as follows:


The George Fairbairn Memorial Shield for Endeavour: presented to Shannon Bisset and Mrs Lorna O'Donnell

The Peebles Highland Games Association Plate for the most Improved Learner: presented to Arran Cameron

The Most Improved Piper: presented to Cameron Greenshields

The Most Improved Drummer: presented to Robbie Knox

The Players Player: presented to Lisa Stewart and James Thomson


A new trophy was gifted to the Band this year, the May Wilkins Memorial Trophy. The trophy was presented by Ian in memory of his late wife. May was a supporter of the Band along with her husband Ian. It was decided that the award should be made for dress and deportment. It was presented to Daryn Jones who is always immaculately turned out and an example for his fellow Band members to follow.


Medals and Certificates of Merit were presented to:


Chantell Bisset, Ruaridh Clinch, Liam Dodds, Alisdair Gemel, Lewis and Kenny Greenshields, Caelen and Evan MacIver, John Napier, Ben Richardson, Anna smith, and Ben Nairn.


Pipeband AGM 2015

The Band would wish to record a huge thanks to those tutors, family, friends and supporters who give up so much of their time to help in so many, many different ways. It takes an enormous amount of work behind the scenes to ensure that the Band is able to perform at so many functions and parades over the year. Thank you to one and all.


The Band has seen an unprecedented rise in the number of both adults and children wishing to join. So much so that we are having trouble fitting everyone in. We could do with some help, we are extremely short of drumming tutors and this is really hindering what we are able to offer the children.


The numbers of children participating in the Band is likely to increase as a result of the success of the tutoring in Priorsford and Kingsland Primary schools, if there is any one reading this article with drumming or piping experience who would be willing to give up an hour or two of their time per week to help, the Band would love to hear from you.

Piping and Drumming tuition in Schools

Piping tuition continues to prove very popular in both Kingsland and Priorsford Primary Schools. The initiative has been running for four years and has resulted in a number of youngsters playing with the Band.


This year it has been possible to introduce drumming tuition to Kingsland Primary School. A number of pupils have recently started and it is hoped that they will progress to playing with the Band. It is hoped that similar tuition could be introduced to Priorsford if a suitable tutor willing to give one or perhaps two hours of their time during the school term could be found. If anyone would be willing to assist please contact the Chair, contact details can be found in the contact section of the website.

Festivals and other playing engagements

This year has been a very busy year with a record breaking number of outings and playing engagements. Some of the engagements were our usual annual events but there were a number of new engagements.


In March a new engagement and perhaps the most unusual of the year was an invitation from East District Swimming to play at the Royal Commonwealth Pool for the Edinburgh International Swimming Competition. This was an international line up of top swimmers not only in the UK but the World. There were numerous Olympic, World and European Champions as well as the odd World Record Holder. The Band played on two occasions and found it extremely difficult playing on the poolside in the heat, rather like playing in a sauna. However the appearance went down well with the spectators and swimmers alike with numerous photos being taken whilst we played.


In May we played on five occasions in the Penicuik Hunter Festival, the Alex Lucas Memorial Football Tournament, and the May dance. Some of our members piped the newly chosen Beltane Queen and her court along the High Street. We also played for a local company at Neidpath Castle whilst they entertained their clients and suppliers.


In June, another busy month with six engagements which included our own Beltane Festival. The month started with an appearance at Eddleston for their festival, always an enjoyable evening. Our Pipe Major's sister was married in this month and we had the honour of playing for the happy couple at their ceremony at the Hydro. The Bride was piped up the aisle and the Band played whilst the guests drank champagne after the ceremony. There was a second appearance at the reception at night much to the surprise of the Bride who was unaware we would play. A lovely day and a privilege and pleasure to play.


Hydro Wedding


Also in June the Band, once again, had the pleasure of playing at Newtongrange for their Town's festival, this event is massed bands and always sound great to hear five or six Pipe Bands playing together. Several pipers also enjoyed piping the Beltane Queen home from her party prior to her big week. Beltane week was, as it always is, long but enjoyable. The Band had five new pipers and a new drummer who made their first public appearances. All are to be congratulated, they all did a fantastic job and did the Band and Peebles proud.


Beltane High Street


June culminated with an engagement which we undertook for the second year. We played at Carnwath in the morning with a long march round the Town for their annual festival. In the afternoon we had an even longer march when we escorted the Mason's in Forth on their annual Masonic walk. The two engagements together make it an extremely long day but the weather and the hospitality of both our hosts made for an enjoyable engagement.


July tends to be a much quieter month as this tends to be the time most members take their holidays. However there were two engagements, one an annual fixture in the calendar, with an invitation by our neighbours in Innerleithen to play at Games week. Always a lovely atmosphere in Innerleithen and a pleasure to play. The second outing was a new engagement and a different one. We were invited to play at Penrith Agricultural Show. Whilst we left a very wet and dreich Peebles, the weather in Penrith was glorious sunshine. A great day was had by all both in the appearance and also sampling all of the local produce in the many marquees around the show ground.


Wedding Neidpath


August saw another appearance at Neidpath Castle, this time at another Wedding. The weather was kind and the Band enjoyed playing for the happy couple and their guests.


There was also the now customary appearance at Sanquhar for their annual festival. This has become a traditional fixture and is a very enjoyable day. Once again the weather was dry and sunny, the Band played throughout the day in a parade in the morning, a competition in the afternoon and massed bands at night.


Sanquhar 2015


We have another Wedding in November and already have a booking for a Wedding next November in Stirling. There will be an appearance at the Remembrance Service in the Parish Church. That together with a lot of hard work over the winter will ensure that 2015 will have been perhaps one of the busiest years yet. All credit to the members who volunteer their time.

Kingsland Primary School Scottish Day

The School holds its annual Scottish Day in January to celebrate all things Scottish. The pupils were piped into the hall by Mrs Wheater and Mrs Swinney and there followed an afternoons entertainment with the children showing their talents in reciting Scottish poetry, Scottish country dancing and singing. Those children who attend the lunchtime chanter group played during the afternoon.


The group shown in the photo below (from R to L) consists of Mrs Jeanie Wheater (tutor), Mrs Lorna O'Donnell, Mrs Jacqueline Wilson, Chantelle Bisset, Grace Crighton, Arran Cameron, Sam Bryson (hidden from view) and Mrs Sally Swinney (tutor). The group played a number of tunes on chanter.


Kingsland Scottish Day 1


They were followed by Rory Gilfillan who played side drum accompanied by Mrs Swinney on Pipes.


Kingsland Scottish Day 2


For some in this group it was their first public performance and they did themselves and the school proud.


AGM & Presentation Night 2014

Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Pipe Band held its AGM and Presentation Night on Wednesday 10th December. Over 70 band members, learners and their families attended.


The formalities of the AGM were conducted and the evening then progressed with the learners and various members of the Band providing entertainment for their friends and families. Several adults and children played various tunes on their chanters followed by the drum corps showing their talents on pads and drums. The entertainment concluded with several of the younger and novice members playing their pipes.


There then followed the presentation of several shields, plates, cups and medals. The first award was the George Fairbairn Memorial Shield for Endeavour. George Fairbairn was a fantastic supporter of the Pipe Band who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. May Fairbairn, his wife, presented the Shield in George's memory. This award was presented to drummer Jimmy Nicol. This past year has been a particularly demanding year with the number of competitions and performances the Band has undertaken. Jimmy is an extremely experienced member of the Band and has undertaken every outing, without his participation the Band would not have been able to take part in competition. His perseverance over the year is greatly appreciated. The Band is also fortunate in that Jimmy attends each Monday to teach the youngsters drumming.


The second award was The Peebles Highland Games Association Plate for Most Improved Learner. The award was presented to piper Ex-Cornet Ewen Young. Ewen joined the Band at the end of the summer this year and has made significant progress. He played his pipes for family and friends and has only been playing pipes for three weeks. This is testament to his hard work and determination.


The trophy for Most Improved Piper was presented to Evan MacIver. Evan was second earlier in the year at the Livingston Mini Band competition, where he competed in the 10 and under competition on chanter. He progressed from chanter to pipes earlier in the year, and an immense amount of work has shown dividends culminating in the winning of this award.


The trophy for Most Improved Drummer was awarded to James Thomson, James once again has made excellent progress over the year, he played in his first competition this year on tenor drum and is now learning the side drum. A well deserved winner of this award and a result of his hard work.


The last award of the evening was The Player's Player trophy; the winner of this award was chosen by the playing members of the Band. Each member voted for the person who they felt had made a significant contribution to the Band. The trophy was awarded to Robert Stewart. Once again Robert joined the Band relatively recently and has made remarkable progress to become one of the most respected members.


Certificates of Merit and medals to the following members Shannon Bisset, Chantelle Bisset, Alisdair Gemmel, Frazer Gemmel, Rory Gilfillan, Lewis Greenshields, Kenny Greenshields, Callum McLauchlan, Josh Walker, Arran Cameron, Mark Mawer, Maya Mawer, Calan Mawer, Ben Richardson, Cameron Greenshields, Anna Smith, Caelen MacIver, Emily Watson, Jacqueline Wilson and Lorna O'Donnell.


AGM 2014


The Band wishes to extend a huge thank you to St Joseph's Neighbourhood Centre for their very kind donation. The funds come at a time when the Band is increasing in size, with significant pressure to provide tutoring for youngsters wishing to learn piping and drumming. The funds will be put towards that initiative. The Band relies heavily on their own fundraising as well as support from local businesses and orginisations, so these funds are gratefully received.


Festivals and other Playing Engagements

This year, like last, is proving to be an extremely busy one for the Band. We have received many requests for us to play at various events in and around Peebles as well as further afield. Unfortunately we are unable to undertake all requested engagements, so the sooner we are asked to play the better chance of a request being successful. Our engagements are arranged on a first come first served basis.


The pressure on Band members is even greater now that the Band has decided to enter the competition circuit. Added to the requirement for commitment from members is the other fundraising activities that the Band has to undertake. Fundraising is a vital part of the Band, without it we could not survive. We rely on local support to ensure the Band can grow and provide learning opportunities for youngsters locally. The Band is grateful to the Beltane Committee for their very generous donation.


The year commenced with a very enjoyable performance at the Old Age Pensioners Christmas Party at the Hydro at the end of January. The Band saw the result of a lot of hard work over the winter months and really enjoyed the performance, resulting in a standing ovation from the audience and a very tearful Douglas Wright.


We have enjoyed playing at many other charity events including the Alex Lucas Memorial Football tournament, always an enjoyable engagement . That engagement included playing during the day at the football tournament and then piping for those attending the dinner in the evening at the Barony Castle. Again the weather was superb and all our members enjoyed the day. We also played at the British Legion coffee morning, and various members have undertaken engagements for local organisations such as Peebles Nursing Home for their Burns lunch, Kingsland Primary School Scottish Day, Riding for the Disabled 30th Birthday in the presence of HRH Princess Anne. Several members of the Band have played at events in Peebles in commemoration of the 1st World War including the Veterans Day and Memorial Service.


We have played at Penicuik, Mayfield, Newtongrange, Eddleston, Innerleithen and Carnwath festivals already. We have also undertaken the Masonic Walk at Forth, this was a first for the Band and whilst it was an extremely long march it was undertaken in exceptionally warm conditions with occasional rain. The Band enjoyed the outing to pastures new. Later in the year we are due to play at Sanquhar.


We are also due to compete in further competitions at Melrose, Edinburgh, Cowal, Peebles and Innerleithen. The site will be updated with the results of those competitons.


Beltane Week 2014


The Band had a fantastic Beltane week, the weather was fabulous and the crowds were brilliant. It commenced on the Friday before when several pipers had the pleasure of piping the Beltane Queen home from her party at Kingsland


It is always a highlight of the Bands annual calendar to participate in our home festival. It was on Beltane Sunday that the Band had the first showing of our new uniforms (see below for more information). A keenly awaited event was the biennial Band race at the sports on Tuesday evening. There is always a great deal of posturing from various members for this event.

Pipe Band Race

It is great fun, as can be seen from the photograph. It is also one of the rare opportunities the Band have to play for some very important locals, we play at Dovecote Lade for the residents and for the patients at Haylodge. The Band play each evening of the week with Beltane Friday night and Saturday morning ranking highly amongst members for the pride and enjoyment they have from playing with the Band. It is certainly a very demanding week requiring lots of stamina in the legs and lungs! Brilliant week, thanks to all of you who supported us throughout the week, you know who you are.


New Uniforms


The Band has been extremely fortunate to have benefitted from a grant to enable new uniforms to be purchased. The Band purchased new jackets and waistcoats from Graham McGrath in Peebles. We appreciate the time and expertise of the staff at Graham McGrath's, especially David McGrath who made sure the fitting of the jackets and waistcoats was able to be undertaken over several weeks during Band practice nights on Wednesday evenings.


The tartan for the kilts was spun, again locally, in Langholm. The kilts were hand made in Selkirk.




AGM & Presentation Night 2013


2013 ended with another very successful second AGM and presentation night. Over 60 members, friends and family members attended the evening. The formalities of the AGM were quickly dealt with and the evening then moved on to the most important part of the event when various members and learners were able to showcase the progress which has been made during the year playing for those assembled.


The evening commenced with a number of the younger learners playing various scales, gracenotes and tunes on chanter. Some of the younger members have only been learning chanter for a relatively short period of time and showed great determination and courage to play to such a large audience so early in their careers.


The younger learner drummers showed their skill on pads and tenor drum, they too played extremely well and are to be congratulated for their endeavours over the year.


The older members of the Band then showed parents and friends how much progress had been made in 2013 when they played two rousing tunes on pipes. The audience certainly seemed to appreciate the hard work and there were shouts for an encore.


At the conclusion of the Band presented several trophies. The recipients were as follows:


Most Improved Learner - Alistair Gemmel

Endeavour - Chantelle Bisset and Callum McLauchlan

Most improved Piper. - -Daryn Jones

Most Improved Drummer. - Rory Gilfillan

Players Player - Scott Murdoch




The Band send their congratulations and best wishes to our President Captain Sir David Younger KCVO on the occasion of his Knighthood. We look forward to continuing our work with him and are grateful for his advice and assistance to date.


The Band extend a huge thank you to the Dorothy Dobson's Over 60's Exercise Class for their generous donation. The funds will be put towards equipment for learners.

Mrs Fairbairn"


Presentation Night 2012

Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Pipe Band held its AGM and Inaugural Presentation Night on Wednesday 12th December. Over 65 band members, learners and their families enjoyed the evening.


The formalities of the AGM were conducted and the evening then progressed with learners providing entertainment for their friends and families.  Several children played various tunes on their chanters followed by the drum corps showing their talents, with a number of exercises and skills being shown.


There then followed the presentation of several shields, plates, cups and medals. The first award was the George Fairbairn Memorial Shield for Endeavour.  George Fairbairn was a fantastic supporter of the Pipe Band who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. May Fairbairn, his wife, presented the Shield in George's memory.  This award was presented jointly to Emily Watson and Ben Thomson, two youngsters who are learning the chanter as testament to the hard work and determination they have shown over the year.

Mrs Fairbairn"


The second award was The Peebles Highland Games Association Plate for Most Improved Learner. The Highland Games Committee were kind enough to make a donation to the Pipe Band earlier in the year and a Plate was purchased using the funds.  The award was presented by Margaret Abbot, Chair of the Committee to Daryn Jones, learning the chanter.

Mrs Fairbairn"


Captain Sir David Younger KCVO, the Band's President,  presented the remaining awards. The trophy for Most Improved Piper was shared between two pipers Luke Birrell and Sally Swinney.  The trophy for Most Improved Drummer was awarded to Caitlin Smith. These three Band members have put in a tremendous effort during the past year and this can clearly be seen in their piping and drumming.


The last award of the evening was The Player's Player trophy; the winner of this award was chosen by the playing members of the Band. Each member voted for the person who they felt had made a significant contribution to the Band.  The trophy was awarded to Lisa Stewart, leading drummer.


Captain Younger also presented Certificates of Merit and medals to the following members Dominic Davies; Shannon Bisset; Chantelle Bisset; Rory Gilfillan; Conall Scott; Robbie Ferguson; James Thomson; Sophie Smith; Finlay Naysmith; Evan Maciver; Caelen Maciver; Cameron Greenshields; Callum McLauchlan; Alasdair Gemmel; Mhairi Aird; Fearghas Lowther; Jacqueline Wilson; Lorna O'Donnell; Emma Geen, Alex Jones and Miles Harrison.

Pipe Band Winners"


For the last two years members of the Band have been giving chanter lessons at Kingsland and Priorsford Primary Schools; there are over 40 teachers and pupils participating.  Some of those learners also practice at the Band's practice night each Monday.  The tutors have been stunned by the success but are now being hampered in what can be offered by a severe lack of tutors.  The Band would also like to offer similar tuition for drumming but cannot due to a lack of tutors.  The Band would dearly love to hear from any person with drumming or piping experience who would be willing to give up just one or two hours of their time per week. If you can help please contact the Chairman or Pipe Major through the Band's Contact page.


A big thank you to all who attended and made this inaugural evening such a success, especially Doreen Massie and Lilian Williamson for their excellent shortbread.




The Band is delighted that Captain Sir David Younger KCVO has agreed to accept an invitation to become the President of Peebles Ex-Servicemen's Pipe Band.  Captain Sir Younger KCVO, has been Lord-Lieutenant of Tweeddale since 1994.  He previously served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and ran the Massed Pipes and Drums in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in 1963; he was Pipe President of the 1st Battalion Pipe and Drums from 1965-67.  More recently he was a member of the Committee which selected a new Quick March for the Royal Company of Archers from a competitive field of twelve of the best military and civilian pipers in Scotland.  We hope to utilise Captain Younger's experience and look forward to working with him during his Presidency.



Peebles travelled to Livingston to compete in the Indoor Mini Bands and Individual Piping and Drumming Competition. The first time the Band has played the new competition set, they competed well and were placed eighth overall.  The Pipers and Drummers who participated in the Individual competitions also played well, Nicola Stewart being placed fourth overall.


The Band are extremely grateful to the Peebles Highland Games Committee for their very generous donation of £200. Margaret Abbott, Chair of the Committee is seen presenting the cheque to Pipe Major Tracey Thomson at a recent practice night.  Thanks to everyone on the Committee for their support.

Cheque Presentation

Peebles Activities Week

The Band is pleased to participate in Activities Week this year. This annual event is organised by the Peebles Community Council.  There will be free piping and drumming tuition on offer on Monday 14th May between 7.30pm and 8.30pm in the Masonic Hall, Northgate, Peebles.  Why not come along and give it a try!

The Band would like to thank the Community Council for the opportunity to participate and for their sponsorship.

Piping tuition in schools

The chanter tuition continues to be very successful in Kingsland and Priorsford Primary Schools, there are a number of pupils and teachers learning to play the chanter. A number of the pupils are also attending practices on Monday evenings. Well done to those participating.