|Pipe Major Richard Parkes at Buckingham Palace accompanied by his wife Ruth and mother Jean, to receive his MBE. US06-724SP|
IN June 2004 the Queen, in her Birthday Honours, awarded the MBE to Pipe Major Richard Parker who recently went to Buckingham Palace to receive his award.
Richard has completed over 23 seasons as Pipe Major of the current world Grade I champions - the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band. Along with his brother Gordon he joined the band in 1967 when it was under the leadership of Pipe Major Ricky Newell. In the early 80s he became responsible for the musical direction of the band and up to 1989 made steady progress through the grades reaching the elite Grade 1.
In 1990 the band realised their dream by winning the magnificent Cowal trophy in Dunoon - taking the trophy out of Scotland for the first time in its 84 year history.
But the dream was to become even bigger when, in 1992, they won four out of the five major titles, including the coveted worlds and Cowal.
The ultimate victory came in 1993 when the Field Marshal Montgomery became only the third band in history to make a clean sweep in Grade 1, winning all five major trophies, and were crowned champion of champions.
They have been in the top six places in every major championship throughout the decade, but the top title eluded them again until 2002 when they won the world championships for the 3rd time.
Then in 2004 all eyes were on the Field Marshal as they went unto the grass to compete in the world championships at Glasgow Green.
They were led by Pipe Major Richard Parkes who, during the season, had suffered a stroke but had battled back and was now firmly back at the helm of his talented outfit.
After giving a magnificent performance the Field Marshal won the supreme prize in piping, lifting the championship crown of the world. Richard is also a notable solo performer and has to his credit the All Ireland senior title seven times, the Ulster title nine times and he was awarded the 'Piper of the Year' eight times.
In the words of Councillor Ronnie Crawford, President of the Northern Ireland Branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe band Association:
"On behalf of every bands person I want to say to this brilliant, dedicated, gifted pipe major - well done Richard Parkes MBE."
Don Bradford, originally from Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone has left the pipe majorship of the Glasgow Pipes and Drums which he helped to set up in the spring of 2004.
He has joined the Strathclyde Police, a band in which he previously played.
Don left the David Urquhart Travel Pipe Band, along with many of its pipers, to form the Glasgow Pipes and Drums, which became the first band ever to be accredited as a Grade 1 band by the RSPBA.
In his-pipe band career he has played with many top bands including Boghall & Bathgate, David Urquhart, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Strathclyde Police, Black Bottle and the Field Marshal Montgomery.
Cameron Currie, a piper with the band, has reportedly taken over as Pipe Major of the Glasgow Pipes and Drums.
The last meeting of the Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA before the start of the 2005 season will be held on 26th February in the Bridge Community Centre Lisburn, commencing at 2 pm. Final arrangements concerning the Annual General Meeting, which takes place in Glasgow on 12th March, will be made at this branch meeting.