I was born and bred in Edinburgh until I moved to Wales in 2004. My partner lived in Wales with our two children and I was travelling up and down from Edinburgh every 6-8 weeks and soon got fed up with that. So, I moved to Wales.
I have been a professional musician since I was about twelve years old, winning many prizes in solo competitions along the way. My instrument of choice is, of course, The Great Highland Bagpipe, playing all over the world, from China to South America and all places in between. I have continued to play since moving to Wales, mostly at weddings, funerals and corporate events from the north coast to the south coast.
In the 70’s, I also had some military service during which, my bagpipes came in very handy, playing in messes, dinners and on PR trips, C.A.P.E. tours etc. I had a spell teaching bagpipes at one of Scotland’s premier private schools, George Watson’s College, also teaching the pipe band there and went on to win many honours with them. I joined a folk/rock band as a piper. The rest of the band consisted of a fiddler, guitarist, bass, horns, trombone and drums. We toured extensively, all over Europe and were very successful.
I have an older son who is a school teacher and still lives in Edinburgh, recently got married to a lovely Irish girl, in Ireland. That was good trip. My youngest two are, my daughter, 18, and my youngest son, 17, and know more about everything than me!! But, they forget, it was me who taught them how to use a spoon etc!! I miss the old country very much and travel back home as often as I can.
Being an active member of a competing pipe band gives me all the excuses I need to visit home. I have a deep love of the outdoors and like nothing better than walking in the hills or going to the beach with my four dogs that I adore. I shall continue to play the bagpipes as long as I am able because it is not just an instrument, it becomes part of you, making you what you are. There is a oneness, reaching a higher plain when you are at one with your instrument.
I first got interested in becoming a celebrant after hearing about it from my youngest sister who, has been a celebrant for a couple of years. I watched her work, composing a ceremony and I thought that this was something I could do, even after I pass retirement age. I can also see what I can give to people at such sad times in their lives by giving a respectful and dignified farewell to loved ones.