Belfast Telegraph

Top of the world... Lisburn's Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band crowned world champions

First Minister leads plaudits as NI musicians savour glory at Glasgow championships

By Nevin Farrell

First Minister Arlene Foster led the congratulations after Lisburn's Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band were crowned world champions again.

The multi-award-winning band took the title four times in a row between 2011 and 2014, and are back on top this year.

There were ecstatic scenes when the result was announced in Glasgow at the weekend.

More than 800 pipers and drummers from 235 bands took part in the competition in Glasgow which came at the end of the week-long Piping Live! festival.

This year competition came from bands from as far away as the United States, Australia and South Africa.

Mrs Foster tweeted: "FMM pipe band and pipe major Richard Parkes - have just been crowned world champions for the 11th time !!! #ourweecountry"

Inverary and District finished second in the Grade one event, followed by St Laurence O'Toole from the Republic of Ireland in third.

After collecting the RSPBA Jubilee trophy and banner, Field Marshal's pipe major Richard Parkes said he was delighted with the success.

He felt they performed as well as they could and after that it was up to the judges.

He accepted the margins of victory were small but was "over the moon" at the victory.

Causeway Coast and Glens DUP councillor Alan McLean had double reason to celebrate with sons Aaron and John both named world champions. Aaron is a member of the Field Marshal Band where he has been a drummer for nine years and this is his fifth world title success with them.

Mr McLean's youngest son John is a drummer with the PSNI Pipes and Drums. The band just missed out on winning the overall grade two title, losing out on ensemble preference to Scottish band Johnstone but did take the grade two world drumming title.

Mr McLean said he was disappointed not to have been in Glasgow to see the boys' success but praised them for the hard work and effort they put in.

He congratulated all the Northern Ireland bands who travelled over and hoped they all had an enjoyable day.

"My wife was over and from what I hear the local bands played tremendously well. We are delighted," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

This year was the 30th in a row that Glasgow has hosted the World Pipe Band Championships. Ian Embelton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said: "We have enjoyed an incredible two days of thrilling competition from pipe bands who have committed so much time, energy and talent in pursuit of the ultimate prize."

The Lord Provost of Glasgow and chieftain of the world pipe band championships, Sadie Docherty, said: "There is nothing like the sights and sounds of Glasgow Green during the world pipe band championships and the city remains proud to welcome the event and so many pipers and drummers to the city every summer.

"It has been a wonderful championships full of outstanding performances."

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