Local Piper’s Lament to be Aired at Centenary Event

By Sandra McLennan

A specially composed piping lament will be played for the first time on Saturday 20 May at the Black Hill south of Stonehaven.

Piper Ian Dallas wrote the piece ‘The Black Hill – 100 Years’ for the Stonehaven War Memorial Rededication ceremony. The event will honour 100 years since the structure was officially unveiled by The Rt Honourable Viscountess Cowdray in 1923.

Ian will play the lament solo at the foot of the historic War Memorial steps in front of representatives from the Royal British Legion Scotland, local dignitaries, youth organisations and military veterans.

Having played since the age of eight, Ian now tutors and has taught many pupils who have gone on to play at Armistice Day events across the north-east of Scotland. Nowadays Ian continues to teach across schools in Aberdeen City and Shire as well as playing with the Granite City Pipes and Drums.

Reflecting on his composition Ian said: “The lament ‘The Black Hill – 100 years’ came to me as I remembered my visits to the unique, imposing memorial with my dad when we both played in the Stonehaven Pipe Band and attended the Armistice Day parades.

”When I play the Lament at the Rededication Ceremony I will be honouring and respectfully remembering those whose names are inscribed on this magnificent memorial, including my great uncle Frank Dallas who died on 6 April 1918 at Etaples in France.”

An appeal for 100 pipers to attend the event was launched back in March. The organisers remain keen to reach this number and at present have approximately 71 pipers confirmed with those pipers representing The Army Cadets, Banchory, Granite City, Howe O’ the Mearns, Lathallan, Lonach and Newtonhill pipe bands.

Sheila Elrick, committee member said, “The Pipers will provide a fitting and very moving tribute to this occasion. It is not too late to register attendance and we encourage others who wish to join us including any solo pipers to do so. Everyone is welcome.”

A tribute will be paid to Stonehaven born Pipe Major the late James Riddell when the seven Pipe Majors play “The Crags of Tumbledown Mountain”. Scots Guard Mr Riddell is known across the world for composing the famous piece of piping music on the back of a ration packet while under fire during the Falklands conflict.

”It is only appropriate that we pay tribute and recognise Pipe Major Riddell on such a memorable and momentous day for Stonehaven,” added Sheila.

The ceremony itself will begin at 3 pm and will include recitals, readings, The Memorial poem and a hymn sung by the Mackie Academy choir that was originally sung at the 1923 ceremony.

A commemorative plaque will be unveiled by The Hon Charles Pearson owner of Dunecht Estates and great-grandson of the late Viscountess Cowdray. The Black Hill was gifted by Lord and Lady Cowdray to the local community for the construction of the Stonehaven War Memorial in the early 1920s.

Further information and event updates can be found on Facebook by searching for the Stonehaven War Memorial Rededication page or by contacting Pam Gerrard on rbls@mail.co.uk. A Rededication fund has also been set up for anyone wishing to contribute to the future upkeep and remedial work of the Memorial – this can be found on https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/rededication-fund.