A CHARITY is calling for old or unwanted bagpipes to be donated to Scottish fire stations - to train young musicians.
The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust is giving free tuition to more than 1000 pupils in schools across Scotland – many in the most deprived areas – and need instruments for the youngsters to play.
After spending up to two years learning on practice chanters the young players progress to the full instrument that can cost hundreds of pounds.
The trust has launched the Bagpipe Amnesty appeal called Old Pipes for New Players - believing piping can change lives for the better.
The campaign has received the backing of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and bagpipes can be handed in to 66 stations around the country.
The trust has been set up because the vast majority of pupils in Scottish schools do not have the chance to learn the pipes and drums in the classroom on the same basis as other instruments.
Unwanted pipes can be given a new lease of life by being handed into one of more than 60 fire stations across Scotland that are supporting the Bagpipe Amnesty.
Trust chief executive Alexandra Duncan said: “We are really grateful to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for backing our campaign which will hopefully help change lots of young people’s lives for the better.
“Piping and being part of a band develop a wide range of life and employability skills including teamwork, individual and shared achievement, discipline, commitment and self confidence as well as musicality. It is a shame that the vast majority of our young people are not offered the chance to learn our national instruments in schools.
“The SSPDT is helping more than 1000 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.
You may have an old set of pipes in your loft or under your bed. Or you may have stopped playing them because of ill-health or inherited some that you don’t useTrust chief executive Alexandra Duncan
“But with such a big programme – and with more young people interested in piping – we need pipes to take these young musicians to the next level. Donated instruments that need some work to bring them back to life will be refurbished free of charge by Wallace Bagpipes. We are also very grateful to Genius PPT for providing a Freephone telephone line during the appeal.”
The SSPDT trustees believe there must be hundreds of sets of pipes lying unused in cupboards and attics that could be given a new lease of life.
Alex added: “We launched the Bagpipe Amnesty on Burns Night - a perfect time to try to spark awareness on the appeal.
“You may have an old set of pipes in your loft or under your bed. Or you may have stopped playing them because of ill-health or inherited some that you don’t use.
“Please donate them to the Bagpipe Amnesty and help change young lives for the better.”
Donations of pipes can be made to one of the 66 manned fire stations from February 1-14.
Call 0808 281 9405 to find your nearest station or find out more information on all aspects of the Bagpipe Amnesty from www.sspdt.org.uk.
Chief Officer Alasdair Hay of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “This is a great initiative by the Scottish Schools Pipe and Drums Trust and we’re delighted to help.
“Our service is very much part of every community and making 66 fire stations available for people to donate bagpipes will hopefully see old and unused instruments reach youngsters who are desperate to get the chance to learn how to play.
“I’m sure there are people throughout the country who have an old set of bagpipes sitting in a loft or cupboard. Passing them on to the Trust will give an opportunity to young people who may otherwise miss out, so it’s something we’re glad to be part of.”