Piper, 10, joins New York Fire Department band in Tartan Day Parade

Piper Josh Bruce with his personalised jacket from the New York Fire Department. Picture: New York Tartan Week/PA
Piper Josh Bruce with his personalised jacket from the New York Fire Department. Picture: New York Tartan Week/PA
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A 10-year-old Scottish bagpiper has become an honorary member of a New York firefighter pipe band after busking for six months so he could take part in the city’s Tartan Day Parade.

Josh Bruce spent time playing the pipes on the streets of his home in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire and in Aberdeen city centre to raise money for flights to New York.

The talented youngster has been piping since he was five and plays using a set of pipes made in memory of the firefighters who died at the World Trade Centre on 9/11, the 343 Red Hot Chilli Piper Wallace pipes.

Only 343 sets were made, one for each of the firefighters who lost their lives and a portion of each set sold goes towards the Fallen Firefighter Foundation charity.

When busking, Josh would perform for more than an hour at a time, mixing traditional ballads with favourite songs, including Avicii’s Wake Me Up.

On hearing about this fundraising efforts and tribute, the New York Fire Department Emerald Society Pipe Band invited Josh to march in the city’s Tartan Day Parade, led this year by Scottish comedian Sir Billy Connolly.

Read more: Sir Billy Connolly ‘danced a wee jig in his heart’ as he led New York City Tartan Day Parade

On arrival in New York, Josh met the fire crew, and was presented with a personalised jacket and made an honorary member of the band.

He said: “I’m over the moon.

“I was already so excited to be taking part in the New York City Tartan Day Parade and to be made an honorary member of the Fire Department New York Emerald Society Pipe Band is a dream come true.”

Pipe Major Jim Lee said: “Josh should be commended for his work and commitment to his culture and country.

“The Fire Department of New York Emerald Society Pipes and Drums are proud to have Josh as an honorary member.”

The primary school pupil marched alongside the fire crew in the parade on Saturday as one of around 3,000 participants including solo pipers and drummers, other pipe bands, Highland dancers, Scottish clans and Scottish dogs.

Sir Billy was Grand Marshal and led the parade along Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue in front of around 30,000 spectators, and said the pipes made him “dance a wee jig” in his heart.

The 76-year-old, who has lived in the US since 2011, accepted the invitation to take part despite announcing in December that he was retiring from touring.

He said: “I’ve absolutely loved being Grand Marshal of this year’s New York City Tartan Day Parade.

“The crowds were brilliant and hearing the skirl of the pipes echoing along Sixth Avenue made me dance a wee jig in my heart.

“What a day!”

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