Basel brushes aside the competition

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There’s no wonder the Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships went like clockwork on Saturday, with the Pipes and Drums of Basel paying a visit.

And the Swiss band, formed in 1978 by pipes-obsessed members of a carnival group, impressed the judges enough to claim some silverware as a reward for travelling all that way.

Bruce Hamilton, president of event organiser St Ronan’s Piping Society, said: “This has been another successful year for the society.

“The sunny weather held for us on the day of our contest, and it was great to see the Pipes and Drums of Basel, all the way from Switzerland, competing here at Innerleithen for the first time, and also, for them, winning a few trophies.

“Let’s hope they can make it a regular appearance.

“Thanks must go to all of the bands who travelled from afar to give us some excellent performances on the day; our sponsors, patrons and advertisers without whose financial support this event could not happen; and, of course, the piping society committee, whose hard work behind the scenes makes this event so successful.

As ever at Innerleithen, there was something for everyone, with competitions for juveniles and drum majors, a plethora of stalls, face-painting, pony rides and the obligatory beer tent to wet those whistles.

Chieftain Sandra Stokoe was piped down to the school grounds from St Ronan’s Road and took over the reins from last year’s chieftain, Norman Scott, to kick off the competition.

Society secretary Allan Johnston said: “It was great that so see so many people who turned out in the sunshine to witness some of the best pipe band performances from South and Central Scotland.

“Our contest is growing in stature every year and is attracting more and more bands to enjoy our Innerleithen hospitality.

“Our venue is great, and it was great to see so many youngsters taking part and they certainly enjoyed some of the excellent facilities on hand.

“Our provisional date for next year’s contest is Saturday, September 9, 2017, again in the grounds of St Ronan’s Primary School. Reserve that date now for a great day out in friendly Innerleithen.”

Mr Hamilton added: “As always, we are looking for more volunteers to join the committee and anyone interested should contact us. You can find us on Facebook – just search for St Ronan’s Piping Society.”

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