Honorary Degree for Pipe Major

Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE who has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queens University Belfast
Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE who has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Queens University Belfast

Congratulations to Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band who has been named as one of the 18 leading figures from the world of business, science, sport, academia and the arts to become Honorary Graduates of Queen’s University for 2019, writes Gilbert Cromie.

This is outstanding recognition for Richard who for over three decades has steered the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band to an amazing 12 World Pipe Band Championships, three Grand Slams (winning of all five major championships in the same year) and almost complete domination of top class pipe banding in that time.

It is undoubtedly well deserved recognition for Richard on a personal level but it is also acknowledging the role of the pipe band community in Ireland in which he has played such a prominent role in developing over the years.

Only last year the Field Marshal Montgomery band were the recipients of a Gradam Ceoil Special Award from the TG4 Television Channel, which in itself was identifying the role of the pipe band within Irish Folk music something that I don’t think had ever been recognised previously.

The importance of this Honorary Doctorate should not be underestimated and, while I won’t list all of the illustrious recipients, it is worth noting that Richard will be in the company of personalities such as Clare Smyth MBE, (recently named as the World’s Best Female Chef), Mark Carruthers OBE (BBC Northern Ireland presenter), Jonathan Rea MBE (four time World Superbike Champion) and Seán O’Neill (three time All Ireland GAA Football winner).

North West Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships date confirmed

It has been confirmed that the North West Pipe Band and Drum Major Championships will take place on Saturday, August 3, following confirmation by the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council that they will meet the RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch requirements.

Competition entry closing dates are coming think and fast – don’t miss out

Solo pipers and drummers as well as band secretaries should note that the closing dates for a number of competitions are this weekend.

The first is tomorrow Saturday, March 30, for the Cullybackey Solos, which take place on Saturday, April 6.

If you still want to enter please mail Valerie Hume on hume1966@aol.com urgently.

Sunday, March 31, at 1pm is the closing date for entries for the Ulster Solos and the World Adult Solo Drumming Qualifier which take place on Saturday, April 20, and they must be made through the RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch online portal.

At the time of writing 18 pipers, 19 drummers and three tenors drummers have entered the Ulster’s while five drummers have entered the World Adult Drumming Qualifier.

The next important closing date is Wednesday, April 3, for Northern Ireland Branch bands and drum majors planning to enter the British Championships at Paisley on May 18 with the draw taking place at 11am on Wednesday, April 10.