Piper to be honoured at music festival

Tom Matthews MBE the Duke's Piper 1971-1982. Rothbury Music Festival
Tom Matthews MBE the Duke's Piper 1971-1982. Rothbury Music Festival

A SPECIAL event will be held at this year’s Rothbury Traditional Music Festival to mark the passing of one of Northumberland’s best pipers.

Tom Matthews MBE was the Duke’s Piper from 1971 to 1982 and left behind a wonderful legacy – recordings of his music.

Now the work has been made into a CD which is to be launched at the music festival which takes place from tomorrow until Sunday.

Tom made the recordings more than 40 years ago using a Grundig reel-to-reel tape machine set up in his kitchen, preserving the tunes that he had collected.

Now his son Roddy has managed to put the music on to a CD in memory of his father.

And the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland will also be attending the event to pay tribute to Tom Matthews.

A special mention will also be made to Tony Sandford, one of the three people instrumental in setting up the music festival, who died last week.

Chairman of the music festival committee, Caroline Dawson said: “We are really looking forward to this year’s event.

“Hopefully, the weather will hold out for us.

“We have got acts on the main stage and puppet shows and face painting as well.

“We’ve also got the concert in the church and the dance on Friday night. It should be a good weekend.”

From 1pm there will be acts on the main stage in the centre of Rothbury with performers such as the Tyneside Maritime Choir, High Spen Blue Diamonds and Tich Frier as well as Irish dancers Absolutely Legless.

There are also children’s competitions taking place at The Jubilee Hall, All Saints’ Church and Rothbury First School.

On the Friday night there will be a dancing ceilidh with West Telferton Caledonian Dance Band in the Jubilee Hall, while the non-dancing ceilidh on Saturday night at the Mart is already sold out.

And for festival survivors there will be a final fling on Sunday morning and a further music session at the Queen’s Head Hotel and Newcastle House Hotel.