Band prize honour for tragic piper

Thomas Grotrian organised the massed band parades of Pipefest
Thomas Grotrian organised the massed band parades of Pipefest
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A CAPITAL piper who was killed in a tragic accident is to be honoured at the city’s only annual piping championship.

Thomas Grotrian, 38, died last year after falling down a flight of stairs during a friend’s party in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Now his mother, Sarah, is to present a trophy in honour of her son at the second Edinburgh Pipe Band Championship later this month.

The announcement comes as the event prepares to 
accommodate nearly double the number of performers and visitors at the Royal Highland Centre, with more than 40 bands set to attend.

Mr Grotrian, who moved to Canada to take up the post of marketing manager of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, was well known as the organiser of the Pipefest massed band parades, which took place in cities such as Edinburgh, New York and Kyoto, and raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for cancer charities.

Mary Michel, Mr Grotrian’s sister, who commissioned the production of the trophy by designer and silversmith Graham Stewart, described the award as something that would help her family move on from the “terrible shock” of losing him.

The 33-year-old mother-of-two said: “My mum and Thomas worked really hard together on the Pipefest event and when she told me that a similar event had been set up and that the organisers had approached her about being chieftain, there was a spark in her eye. It was a huge delight and a lovely surprise for us.

“The prize will be given annually and will be known as the Thomas Grotrian Prize for Marching and Discipline. We thought having something permanent and annual would be the best way of celebrating Thomas and remembering him.”

Mrs Michel, who is general manager of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh, added: “It’s lovely to be part of something that’s in its early stages. When Thomas was running Pipefest, it was about including more 
people and this is continuing that approach.

“When we went to his memorial service in Canada last year, lots of people there said that he always turned up to work looking immaculate with a two-piece suit when everyone else was in jeans. The prize really refers to his love of occasion and being well turned out.”

Archie Glendinning, director of the Royal Highland Centre, said: “[Thomas] was heavily involved in delivering piping events and we want to continue developing opportunities for piping in the future.

“Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital and putting piping on the map here is hugely important.”