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Piping pair help band to world victory

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By Fiona Reid
Piping pair help band to world victory

TWO pipers from the region have helped bring the World Pipe Band Championships trophy back to Scotland for the first time in ten years.

Kevin Bell, right, of Annan, and Fraser Hogg, of Dumfries, are members of Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band – who on Sunday were named the best pipe band in the world.
Still reeling from the result, Kevin, 32, said: “We’re the first Scottish band in ten years to win it.”
Recalling his reaction to reclaiming the trophy the band won ten years before, he added: “I was just overwhelmed.
“It’s a life’s ambition come true.
“All the hard work that’s been put in has paid off.”
Kevin started piping at the age of six, and his mum Jan said: “I’m absolutely delighted. The first time he ever saw Shotts playing, he said, ‘I’m going to play with them’.”
Kevin first started playing with Maclean Pipe Band, which amalgamated to Royal Burgh of Annan Pipe Band, and then joined Dumfries and Galloway Police Scotland Pipe Band, but always harboured an ambition to play with Shotts, successfully auditioning for the Grade 1 band in the winter of 2011.
Fellow member Fraser, who is studying civil engineering at Glasgow University joined Shotts last year, and reacting to the win said: “I went crazy, then emotion hit in and I was speechless. It didn’t feel real.”
Fraser has been piping for ten years, latterly with Dumfries and Galloway Police Scotland Pipe Band, and said: “It’s a lifelong ambition, and this is as good as it really gets.”
Shotts played a march, strathspey and reel and a medley in the qualifiers in Glasgow on Friday.
Lochmaben Royal Burgh Pipe Band and the Royal Burgh of Annan Pipe Band both failed to make it through the qualifiers in their section.
And on the Sunday, Shotts faced off against 11 of the world’s top bands, including Field Marshal Montgomery, who had won the title four years in a row.
Now intent on defending the title, Kevin said: “I’d like to thank my mum and dad for spending the money on me as a wee boy, and all past and present members of my old bands.
“Without them I would never have got to where I was.”


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