I started piping in 1970. I was taught by Pipe Major Harry McNulty of the Lothian and Boarders Police Pipe Band. I joined the Eastern Scottish Pipe Band grade 4 in 1972. I gained the position of Pipe Sergeant in 1973. The band won a few of the minor contests in 1973-74. My pipe band achievements took off in 1975 when I joined the Lothian and Borders Fire Service Pipe Band winning all 5 of the major championships in 1975 and in 1976, we won 4 of the majors in grade 2 under the leadership of Pipe Major Archie Pinkman, ex Bilston Glen Pipe Band, a grade 1 band. I was a keen solo competitor around the games winning the Kilsyth trophy at Falkirk and the Greater Glasgow up at Bellahuston. I emigrated to Australia in 1979 and joined St Andrews Caledonian Pipe Band in 1982. I stayed with StACPB for 5 seasons. In that time, I played in the solo championships winning the state championships 3 years in a row.
I was taught the pipes by a very patient North African war veteran named Joseph Young. Joe had lost lung function due to tuberculosis yet incredibly still played the pipes, a testament to the constitution of his generation. Joe taught me to ‘play the tune’ not just the notes.
I was 12 years old and played in the Napier Boys High School Pipe Band. I was moved to the City of Napier Pipe Band when I was about 14. I joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force when I was 18 and gradually ceased playing.