Bagpipe amnesty call answered 4000 miles away

Andi Gamblin and a friend. Picture: SSPDT/PA

Andi Gamblin and a friend. Picture: SSPDT/PA

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A CAMPAIGN to find old or unused bagpipes to help young musicians train on the instrument has received a donation from more than 4000 miles away.

Andi Gamblin, from Kansas in the United States, saw an appeal from the Scottish Schools Pipes & Drums Trust’s (SSPDT) bagpipe amnesty on Facebook and quickly arranged for her Kintail pipes to be sent 4227 miles from her home to Edinburgh.

Ms Gamblin, 44, has no direct Scottish roots but has been piping for the last 15 years, and travelled across the US playing with various pipe bands.

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She currently plays with Kansas City St Andrews Pipes and Drums and said she wanted to donate her first set of bagpipes to help young people try the instrument.

The donation adds to 14 sets of bagpipes and drums that have been handed to the trust since it launched the appeal on Burns Night, January 25.

Andi Gamblin with the pipes she donated. Picture: SSPDT/PA

Andi Gamblin with the pipes she donated. Picture: SSPDT/PA

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It was set up to take bagpipes into schools and will loan pipes to youngsters who want to learn but cannot afford to buy a set.

Ms Gamblin said: “It is hard to part with my pipes because they have been through so much with me.

“But after my husband surprised me with a new set of pipes for our 11th wedding anniversary, it makes no sense to have them sitting around for sentimental reasons when a child, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to play, could have their life enriched. I first started playing the pipes in 2001 in California and I fell in love with the instrument straight away.

Piping can help change young people’s lives for the better, so I think what the bagpipe amnesty is doing is fantastic.

Andi Gamblin

“My first set of pipes have served me well for 14 years but it is time for them to be put to good use again.

“Piping can help change young people’s lives for the better, so I think what the bagpipe amnesty is doing is fantastic.

“I have always wanted to travel to Scotland but haven’t yet been able to. Maybe one day soon I will be able to come over and here the students play the pipes – and maybe even my original set.”

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Trust chief executive Alexandra Duncan said: “We are delighted to receive these pipes from Andi and we hope that her generous donation will encourage others from across the globe to donate.

“The SSPDT is helping more than 1,000 children across the country to learn the pipes and drums in state schools. This includes youngsters from some of Scotland’s most deprived areas who would never have the chance to learn piping.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com