Pipe band glory for Bleary musicians

Bleary & District Pipe Band celebrate their win.

Bleary & District Pipe Band celebrate their win.

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Bleary and District Pipe Band were crowned Grade 2 UK Champions following a competition at Stormont on Saturday.

Hosted by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association in partnership with Belfast City Council, the event saw some 110 of the best pipe bands and 50 of the best drum majors from across the UK and Ireland compete to be crowned champions in the newest competition in the piping calendar.

Band secretary Gail Graham said: “I’m still buzzing. It was a massive achievement.

“That’s the first UK championship that’s ever been held.

“There are five major championships a year. Last year was the last time the Cowell was held. The UK replaced that.”

On May 31 Bleary competed in the British Championship and finished third overall with two firsts in the piping section.

Gail said: “We went into Saturday with those expectations, but we surpassed them.

“Last season was our first year out in seven years.

“It really crowned the band’s comeback.

“To win here was amazing. We’ll go down in history as the first winners of the new trophy.

“We were side by side with our competitors when we were announced as the winners.

“The kilts were flying, the hats were flying and people were jumping up in the air.”

This weekend Bleary and District Pipe Band will take part in the Lurgan and District Pipe Band Championships in Lurgan Park.

After that they’ll travel to Wexford to compete in the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships.