Belfast Telegraph

Piping community pays respects to its 'Tartan Titan'

By Laura Abernethy

Northern Ireland's pipe band community has paid tribute to their 'Tartan Titan' Fred Walker after he died at the age of 87.

Mr Walker passed away at Antrim Area Hospital on March 19.

The father-of-two had a "unique and unparalleled record" in his work with pipe bands here over 69 years.

He got involved with Legacurry Pipe Band as a teenager, playing a side drum and went on to work as branch secretary for over 30 years.

He was the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's Northern Ireland president in 2005 until his retirement in November 2014.

At his funeral service last week at Carnmoney Presbyterian Church piper Derek Boyce - a member of Bleary & District Pipe Band - played a tune entitled President Fred J Walker, which was presented to Fred at the Ulster Championships in Newtownards in August 2013.

The pipe band community said it was "deeply saddened" by the passing of a man known as "Ulster's Tartan Titan".

Alongside his work with the pipe band community, Fred was a committed family man.

He married Margaret in 1958 and they set up home in Carnmoney.

Fred and Margaret had two children, Neil and Rosemary, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Fred left school at 15 to work in Ravarnet Linen Mill, and then at the Aircraft Factory at Altona, near Lisburn.

He moved on to Belfast Ropeworks and later became a works foreman.

And he worked at the Goblin Factory in Belfast manufacturing vacuum cleaners, and at the Mossley Mill in Newtownabbey.

During the funeral service, Fred's daughter Rosemary read a personal tribute entitled My Dad, and son Neil recalled happy memories of a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather. His grandchildren Neil Wallace and Emily Walker and his niece Victoria Gilmore also gave emotional tributes.

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