Pipe dream comes true as Northern Ireland band celebrates record-breaking world championship victory
A band from Northern Ireland has celebrated victory in the world championships for a record ninth time to become the most successful pipe band ever.
After the result was announced, there were scenes of jubilation as the regimented bagpipers of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band finally were able to break ranks and leap for joy.
Sporrans flew awry in a sea of tartan kilts on Glasgow Green yesterday as the musicians cheered their third consecutive coronation as world champions.
Around 8,000 pipers and drummers – making up 225 bands –from 17 countries had performed in front of crowds of 30,000 people at the hugely popular event across two days.
In the championship's 66th year, more countries were represented than ever before – yet the sublime quality of the Lisburn-based pipers' skirl shone through once more.
Ray Hall, chairman of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's Northern Ireland Branch, said he was thrilled at what he described as the band's "mammoth achievement".
"I am absolutely delighted with the result from this year's world championships," he said. "Northern Ireland is one of the most competitive regions to participate at 'The Worlds' each year. To achieve such a result from a small region like Northern Ireland is outstanding.
"To win the Grade 1 World Championship title in three consecutive years is a mammoth achievement. The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is now the most successful pipe band of all time in the world.
"On behalf of all the piping and drumming fraternity in Northern Ireland, I would extend heartiest congratulations to Richard Parkes, Keith Orr and all in the band. Whenever the Northern Ireland bands travel overseas, they look up to Field Marshal Montgomery to fly the Northern Ireland flag with pride."
UUP leader Mike Nesbitt called for the achievement to be recognised by Lisburn Council with the Freedom of the City – and compared the band leader to another famous manager.
"If Sir Alex Ferguson can rightly receive a knighthood for winning one European Championship with Manchester United, how do you properly reward Pipe Major Parkes for what he has done, individually and collectively?" he asked.
"I have already been in touch with my Ulster Unionist colleagues on the council to urge them to propose the much deserved honour."
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band is named after war hero Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein.
Led by Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Drum Sergeant Keith Orr, the Lisburn-based band has won every major championship.
In recent years, it has attracted members from around the world.