When former world piping champion Archie McGeachy emigrated from Campbeltown to America in 1965 his pipes, gifted to him at the age of 14, went with him.
When he moved on, from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Ontario, Canada, his most prized possession, the Henderson pipes, went too.
Now, after the 83 year old piping maestro reached the end of his battle against cancer, his beloved bagpipes went on a final journey - back home across the Atlantic - to fulfil his last wish that they should be passed on to a talented young player.
The piping fraternity, on both sides of the Atlantic, helped Archie’s widow, Maura, 78, and his daughter, Karen Sparkes, 53, ensure that his wish came true. The pipes took flight on their second 3000 mile journey across the Atlantic to be presented to up and coming piper, Calum McKillop, 14, in Archie’s home town of Campbeltown.
Calum was chosen by Kintyre Schools piping instructor Ian McKerral after Canadian piping supremo Bob Worrall gave him the task of finding a suitable young piper to inherit Archie’s gift, ahead of him flying the pipes
over on a visit to Scotland this month.
Mr McKerral said he thought Calum, a member of the 3A Kintyre Schools Pipe Band who came third out of 30 bands competing in their class at the recent World Pipe Band Championships, would be an ideal recipient.
Mrs Sparkes agreed and, speaking from her home in Mississauga, Ontario, yesterday, said: “My dad always said to us he never wanted the pipes to sit in their box and collect dust, he wanted the tunes to play on, so my mom and
I came up with the idea to send them back to Campbeltown. He loved those pipes, actually cherished them, they were his pride and joy.”
She added: “We are very pleased that Calum was selected to receive my dad’s bagpipes. Calum is also 14 years old, the same age my dad was when he received the pipes originally. I already know from chatting to Calum that he will cherish these pipes like my dad did. My dad is probably smiling down with a wee dram in his hand and wishing Calum all the best and good luck.”