Pipe band hits the right note with help from Northumberland Freemasons

A marching band in Rothbury has received a welcome donation of £5,000 from the Northumberland Freemasons.

By Joshua Wright
Thursday, 21st April 2022, 12:24 pm
Alan Thompson , Thomson Bathgate and Robin Murray of Coquetdale Lodge with Andrew Miller, Pipe Major of Rothbury Pipe Band.

Formed in 1920, the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band has recently reached its centenary and continues to aim to provide entertainment for communities across the region.

The band is a traditional marching band, comprised of players of all ages, from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds, all with a passion for bagpipe music.

Historically, they have played at many formal events, including remembrance services, and for a large number of VIP guests, including the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.

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The band receive no formal or regular funding, with the exception of minimal appearance fees, and the financial support of the local community, enabling them to purchase instruments and uniforms and provide tuition for new members.

Through the donation, via the Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund, the band are now able to commence replacing their tired uniforms, which they say are in desperate need of refreshment.

The original Kilted Pipe Band were historically gifted various items of equipment including drums and uniforms, with the uniforms being replaced with a more modern and less restrictive one over 30 years ago.

Kevin Scott, chairman of the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band, explained: “As a community organisation we provide entertainment at many local functions in our village and the wider area of the Coquet Valley, many of these functions are also ran by charity or donation-based organisations.

"Therefore we operate in a very non-commercial environment where fees for our appearances are low or sometimes just donations.

“As a well-established organisation the pipe band has operational costs for the provision of uniforms and instruments to our members, this can cost us upwards of £2,000 per playing member.

He added: “Because our fee earning opportunities are limited, we rely upon grant funding and private donations to allow us to services and run the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band to a very high standard, also this helps to ensure the on-going future of the pipe band for hopefully many years to come.

“The grant generously provided by the Freemasons has allowed us to continue with our current programme to refresh current playing members uniforms, which is an ongoing process, and to provide new uniforms for some new members we have coming through out tutoring scheme.”

Stuart Cairns, secretary to the trustees of the Richard Henry Holmes Benevolent Fund, said: ”When the members of Coquetdale Lodge No 5122 heard that the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band was in need of both new and replacement uniforms they had no hesitation in requesting support from the Northumberland Freemasons Benevolent Fund and for two very good reasons.

"Rothbury Highland Pipe Band’s very own former member, David Brown, had played a significant role in the Pipe Band’s recent history.

“The Trustees of the Benevolent Fund were happy to award a grant of £5,000 in support of the cost of the uniforms; in recognition of the Pipe Band’s service and contribution to the local community and also the great joy that it had given to David Brown.”