Birth of Strathclyde Police PB

In 1975, as a result of local government re-organisation, the City of Glasgow Police and 5 adjoining police forces amalgamated to form Strathclyde Police, now the second largest police force in Britain. This event witnessed the birth of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, which comprised pipers and drummers from the pipe bands of Renfrew & Bute Constabulary, Lanarkshire Constabulary and the City of Glasgow Police.

With Pipe Major Ian MacLellan and Drum Sergeant Alex Connell still in charge, the change of name did nothing to encourage other world champion contenders because the band won the World Championships in 1976, repeated the feat in 1979, then seemingly decided to move up a gear, winning the World Pipe Band Championship in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991. The 6 World Pipe Band Championships won in successive years (1981-1986), remains a milestone that is unbeaten to date.

Pipe Major Ian MacLellan was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 1982 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his services to piping.

Upon the retirement of Pipe Major Ian MacLellan in 1992, piper Harry McAleer was appointed to the post of Pipe Major. Pipe Major Harry McAleer led the band until 1996, during which time he led the band to success culminating in victory at the 1995 Scottish Pipe Band Championships. Harry remained in the band and was replaced by Pipe Major Ian Plunkett, who led the band for 5 years.

In 2001, long time band member James Wark was promoted to Pipe Major. In his first year in charge of the band, he led the band to top 6 positions in all of the 5 major RSPBA championships, as well as numerous victories at many of the provincial contests that the band entered. 2003 saw James leading the band to lift the British Pipe Band Championships. Throughout his 3 years as Pipe Major, James led the band to a top 6 placing at every major championship. James retired from the band and the police service in 2004.

Donald Mackay was then appointed as the new Pipe Major at the end of the 2004 competition season. He led the band to championship successes once again, winning the European Pipe Band Championships and Cowal Highland Gathering in 2006 and the Scottish Championships in 2007. Midway through the 2008 season, Donald stood down from the position of Pipe Major due to family commitments.

Following Donald Mackay’s stand down in 2008, Don Bradford was appointed as the band’s new Pipe Major. Himself a former Pipe Major of Grade 1 pipe bands David Urquhart Travel Pipes & Drums and Glasgow Pipes & Drums, he was chosen as Donald Mackay’s successor. During this time the band faced significant challenges, with the withdrawal of the dedicated Pipe Band Unit from the Force. However, the band demonstrated its tenacity and dedication to its historical roots to continue performing at the same high level.

Duncan Nicholson, the band’s current Pipe Major, was appointed Pipe Major in late 2009.