Bagpipes are welcomed home to Kintyre
A PIPING legend carried out a Campbeltown man’s dying wish by bringing his beloved set of pipes back to his hometown.
Bob Worrall, from Canada, decided to return his pal Archie McGeachy’s pipes to Kintyre after he died last November, following a long battle with cancer.
Archie, born in Campbeltown in 1932, wanted the set to be passed on to another young piper, just as they were given to him when he was 14.
Ian McKerral, Kintyre Schools piping instructor, was given the task to find a suitable heir and chose another 14-yearold with a passion for solo piping, Callum McKillop.
Ian said: ‘I got a phone call from Bob about six weeks ago. He told me the story and tasked me with finding someone to have them.
‘I chose Callum because he is a committed up and coming solo piper, who happens to be the same age as Archie was when he received them.
‘I knew of Archie, particularly that he set up a band called Kintyre in Canada. He was well known in the Kintyre piping scene.’
Bob, a renowned player and tutor, was in Scotland providing commentary for the BBC’s live streaming coverage of the World Pipe Band Championships. He came down to Kintyre to pass on the legacy last Tuesday afternoon.
He said: ‘Archie’s wife, Maura, asked me to find a suitable kid, and I assumed that’d be in Ontario. But the more I thought about it, I thought these pipes are from Campbeltown, so they should come home.
‘I was very good friends with Archie. He incessantly talked about his homeland and had a huge emotional attachment to the area.’
Archie’s pipes, a vintage set of Hendersons, were a gift from a wealthy man back in 1946 after his family could not afford to buy him a set. He went on to receive tutoring from ‘Dilly’ Wilson, father of the celebrated John Wilson.
After competing in Scotland for many years, both solo and for the Clan MacRae Society pipe band, he left for Canada in 1966 and joined the General Motors pipe band of Oshawa, Ontario. There he played with Bob and several other wellknown players.
In a letter written by his wife Maura to Callum, she said: ‘His beloved pipes are now coming home to Campbeltown, and I sincerely hope that you will enjoy playing them as much as he did.’
Callum, fresh from competing at the worlds as the 3A Kintyre Schools pipe band notched third place, said: ‘I totally wasn’t expecting it and it’s a huge honour to keep carrying on the tradition. Of all the folk it could have been, I’m really happy to get them.’
Bob Worrall hands over the pipes to Callum McKillop, alongside Ian McKerral, and Archie McGeachy with his treasured pipes.