The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association

Midlands Branch

"Spotlight" on

Wolverhampton Pipe Band

In the early 1960's the decision was taken by the Sea Scout and Rangers troop attached to the Fallings Park Methodist Church in Wimborne Road, Wednesfield, on the outskirts of Wolverhampton to form a pipe band.

Jim Thomson, a native of Glasgow and member of Rutherglen pipe band during the 1940s and early 1950s, was approached to teach the band and duly appointed as Pipe Major. (Jim still remains with the current band and takes charge of teaching the young learner pipers).

During the early 1970's, assistance was provided to the band by first Graham Mackenzie and then Bert Anderson (both pipers with the Birmingham Scottish Pipe Band - now West Midlands Fire Service Pipe Band), and in the mid 1970's both Bert and his son Roy formally joined the band (Bert taking on the role of Pipe Major and Roy as Drum Major).

Not long afterwards, the band began recruiting members from outside of the Sea Scouts and Rangers and in the mid 1970's changed it's name to the Wolverhampton Pipe Band.

During the 1970's the band was particularly successful in the competition arena leading to their upgrading to Grade 3.

Also successful in competitions was Drum Major, Roy Anderson who over a ten year spell on the mace from 1970 to 1980 won the following titles:

Champion of Champions - 1978, 1979, 1980

Cowal Champion - 1978, 1980

Scottish Champion - 1977

British Champion - 1978

European Champion - 1978, 1979

Intercontinental Champion (Toronto) - 1978

2nd World Championships - 1978, 1979, 1980

English Champion - 1971, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980

Engraving on the Cowal Adult Drum Majors trophy for 1978 and 1980

Having won the Champion of Champions title for three years running, Roy retired from Drum Major competitions and returned to his previous "hobby" of playing pipes and was appointed Pipe Sergeant of the band.

Not long after, father and son "swapped places" with Roy taking on the role of Pipe Major and Bert becoming Pipe Sergeant.

The band continued to flourish through the 1980's and with an influx of a first class drum corps made the breakthrough from Grade 3 to Grade 2.

But, in common with many pipe bands, personnel changed and in the 1990's the band once again returned to Grade 4 and started the rebuilding process.

It was 1996 before the band was in any fit state to consider competitions...

Cowal 1999

and sometimes not in a fit state after competitions!

Cowal 2001

... but 2000 saw them take 6th at the British Championships and 4th at the Cowal Championships.

In 2002 they won the English Mini Band Championships in Grade 4

Cowal 2002

Results on the competition field have been a bit mixed since then, but optimism remains that sustained success is just around the corner.

2004 & 2005 have become known as the "seasons of thirds" - 10 contests entered and 7 third places won!

Leaving the field after competing at Cowal 2004 (not one of the third places!)

Leading the Remembrance Day Parade at Kingswinford 2004

Bert Anderson stepped down as Pipe Sergeant at the start of 2005 and his place was taken by Mick O'Donnell.

Bert's still playing with the band (plus making the bands reeds and pipes) and is a such well-known character around the pipe band world he could almost warrant a whole webpage to himself!

Mick collecting one of the many 3rd place trophies in 2005

Leading the Chieftains parade through the town at Ashbourne Highland Gathering 2005

In 2006 the band moved on to taking second places instead of thirds - 2 out of 2 contests in England and a 12th place at Cowal.

2007 saw the band win the English Championships Grade 4 (a feat they last achieved 27 years ago in 1980!)

In total in English competitions in 2007 the band entered 5 contests and took three first places and two second places with the drum corps winning all five contests!

So whether you're an experienced player or just starting out with pipes or drums, contact us - you'll be made welcome.

Further information can be obtained from Pipe Major Roy Anderson (e-mail contact on the Branch Bands page)