Queen can bank on a full-blown welcome from Tony

WHEN it comes to blowing his own trumpet, banker Tony Laidlaw has plenty of reason.

A senior partner in asset finance at Clydesdale Bank Plaza on Lothian Road, he is also one of Her Majesty's state trumpeters in Scotland.

The father-of-one from Ravelston is one of five state trumpeters who announce the Queen's arrival, or her representative's arrival, by playing a fanfare at a number of events.

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Mr Laidlaw, 51, started playing the French horn at the age of nine at George Heriot's School, and has since transferred his skills to other brass instruments, including the cornet and trumpet.

He currently plays the soprano cornet for St David's Brass in Dalkeith, of which he has been a member for the last four years.

He previously played in the Penicuik Silver Band for nearly four decades.

Surprisingly, Mr Laidlaw said there were plenty of similarities between his job at the bank and the musical side of his life. They both require discipline," he said. "To play music in a group, you have to be disciplined in your approach and organised, and you have to listen to the people round about you, so there are a lot of similarities between that and being a professional.

"There's not nearly as many differences as you would think. Playing the state trumpet or in brass bands, you're still dealing with people and you're playing for people and working with people. Working in the bank is exactly the same.

"My job is demanding and very interesting, as is playing in a brass band."

Mr Laidlaw has performed for the Queen herself on three or four occasions, and was yesterday rehearsing for the Queen's opening of the Scottish Parliament on Friday.

"We will be announcing the procession's arrival on Friday morning in the chamber at the Parliament," he said.

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"Effectively, we are part of the Lord Lyon's party. The Lord Lyon is the Queen's representative for heraldry in Scotland. When the Queen is on ceremonial duty, we would normally be asked to perform.

"We play things like the opening of the General Assembly. We play fanfares that announce the Queen's arrival.

"We get together when we can to rehearse but it can be eight months between jobs. We probably won't play again after Friday until next year for the opening of the General Assembly."

Mr Laidlaw was friendly with the retiring senior state trumpeter and seven years ago, he asked Mr Laidlaw if he would be interested in becoming one of Her Majesty's state trumpeters.Mr Laidlaw said: "My first engagement was the official opening of the Scottish Parliament.

"When I first performed for the Queen, I was nervous, but now I'm concentrating on being as good as I can be."

Mr Laidlaw rehearses twice a week with St David's Brass for two hours each night.

"I've wanted to play brass since I was a little boy, probably because of Louis Armstrong - I wish I could play like him."