Formed in 1920, the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band has recently reached its Centenary milestone and continues to provide entertainment for the communities of Rothbury, Coquetdale and, occasionally, more widely across Northumberland and the North East, at village shows, community events and the annual Remembrance Day Parade in Rothbury
The band is a traditional marching band, comprised of players of all ages, from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a passion for bagpipe music. Historically, they have played at many formal events, for a large number of VIP guests, including the Queen and the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
The band receive no formal funding, with the exception of minimal appearance fees, and the generous financial support of the local community, enabling them to purchase instruments and uniforms and provide tuition for new members.
Through the generous donation of £5000 from the Northumberland Freemasons, via the Richard Henry Holmes Masonic Benevolent Fund which donates around £160,000 to local charities and good causes including food banks to boost worthwhile and deserving projects throughout Northumberland, Newcastle and North Tyneside, the band are now able to commence replacing their tired uniforms, which are in desperate need of refreshment. The original Kilted Pipe Band were historically gifted various items of equipment including drums and uniforms, with the uniforms being replaced with a more modern and less restrictive one over thirty years ago.
Kevin Scott, Chairman of the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band, explained 'As a community organisation we provide entertainment at many local functions in our village and the wider area of the Coquet Valley, many of these functions are also ran by charity or donation-based organisations. Therefore we operate in a very non-commercial environment where fees for our appearances are low or sometimes just donations.
As a well-established organisation the Pipe Band has operational costs for the provision of uniforms and instruments to our members, this can cost us upwards of £2,000 per playing member. Because our fee earning opportunities are limited, we rely upon grant funding and private donations to allow us to services and run the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band to a very high standard, also this helps to ensure the on-going future of the Pipe Band for hopefully many years to come.
The grant generously provided by the Freemasons has allowed us to continue with our current programme to refresh current playing members uniforms, which is an ongoing process, and to provide new uniforms for some new members we have coming through out tutoring scheme.
So, with this support from the Freemasons, we hope to secure a future for our inclusive and social Highland Pipe Band and continue to provide our special brand of traditional entertainment in our community helping to promote wellbeing and a feel-good factor for both our local audiences and the members of the Pipe Band.'
Stuart Cairns, the Secretary to the Trustees of the Richard Henry Holmes Benevolent Fund, said 'When the members of Coquetdale Lodge No 5122 heard that the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band was in need of both new and replacement uniforms they had no hesitation in requesting support from the Northumberland Freemasons Benevolent Fund and for two very good reasons.
First of all, the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band has been delighting audiences and events in the area for more than 100 Years and secondly, their very own former member, David Brown, had played a significant role in the Pipe Band’s recent history.
The Trustees of the Benevolent Fund were delighted to award a grant of £5,000 in support of the cost of the uniforms; in recognition of the Pipe Band’s service & contribution to the local community and also the great joy that it had given to Brown'.