The pipes are calling for jubilee celebrations

Rothbury Pipe Band performing in Alnwick.
Rothbury Pipe Band performing in Alnwick.

A North Northumberland community band are polishing their brass in preparation for a diamond jubilee celebration at the weekend.

On Saturday, Rothbury Highland Pipe Band celebrate the 60th anniversary of their re-formation.

The original Rothbury Kilted Pipe Band were formed in 1920, but gradually, due to age, the deaths of bandsmen and the Second World War, the numbers of members decreased.

However, although there were insufficient numbers for a whole band, the bandsmen who were left still played at town events such as Remembrance Day commemorations.

In 1954, Robbie Murray, a co-founder of the original band, and a group of like-minded local men got together to chat, practise and reform the band.

Their first public appearance as Rothbury Highland Pipe Band, without uniform, was at a school sports parade on June 25, 1955.

Remarkably, two of that original group, George Nixon and Billy Murray, are still active band members, George playing the pipes and Billy the drum.

After many months of planning and fundraising, the celebratory event will take place on Saturday, starting at around 2pm, at the town’s Coquetvale Hotel, followed by visits to the Railway Hotel, the Queen’s Head Hotel, the Newcastle House Hotel and finishing in the Turk’s Head.

The band’s tour of the town will culminate in a formal presentation, a hog roast and an informal musical evening.

The formal presentation of the new mace will take place in the Turk’s Head around 7pm.

It will be presented jointly by parish council chairman Mark Gilson and community representative and long-time band supporter Thomson Bathgate. Unfortunately, the ceremonial baldrick will not be ready in time for the big day, but it will be informally presented at a later date.

Organisers would like to thank Rothbury Parish Council for their support.