Donald MacLeod competition cancelled again

Pipe Major Donald MacLeod.

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The Pipe Major Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition has been cancelled for a third year due to the Covid 19 restrictions and uncertainty

A twice-postponed recital will go ahead in the summer.

The planned recital by PM Roddy Macleod MBE, organised in conjunction with the Kinloch Historical Society and to feature the music of PM Alex M Maciver, is now scheduled to take place in Balallan on Friday June 24.

The changes were announced at the AGM of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society held via Zoom on January 26.

Giving his annual report to the AGM, Piping Society chairman Dr John Smith said the ‘raging Covid pandemic’ had ‘severely curtailed’ the activities of the Society for the second year running, particularly in relation to the Donald MacLeod competition, where the society invites and pays costs for the current eight best pipers in the world to travel to Stornoway for the event.

He confirmed: ‘We decided a few weeks ago that the omens were not looking too good for the Donald MacLeod competition scheduled for April 1, 2022, and that the possibility of losing more money on fares was too much of a risk.

‘We also consider that the ethos of the competition is for it to take place in Stornoway, so holding a ‘virtual’ competition is not a realistic option. Accordingly there will be no competition this year, but hopefully the PM Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition will resume in the Caladh Hotel on Friday April 7, 2023.’

In better news, the AGM heard there were more than 200 youngsters learning the pipes locally and that the Youth Pipe Band was beginning to flourish.

Dr Smith welcomed this update from Ashley Macdonald, Society Piping Secretary, leader of the Youth Pipe Band and one of the school piping tutors.

In his report, the chairman also paid tribute to Honorary President Mr Norman S Morrison who passed away recently. He said: ‘Norman Lazy, as he was known locally, was one of two remaining founder members of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society, and we extend our condolences to his widow Mairi.

‘The last man standing is John Kennedy, who can still be seen whizzing around town on his motorbike, in his 89th year.’

The chairman thanked the office bearers and committee members for their support over the past year and, after the formal process of demitting office and asking for nominations, the same committee was appointed for the next year.

Dr Smith added: ‘Despite the challenge to old brains of coming to grips with modern technology and social media, we have been able to maintain a reasonable profile.

‘At the last count we had 1200 following our Facebook page and the YouTube channel had 80,000 views and approximately 500 subscribers.’

Anyone wishing to become involved with the Lewis and Harris Piping Society is invited to contact Secretary Joanna Graham by phone: 07950 124983, email: cambies@hotmail.com or via the Piping Society’s Facebook page.