Drummers help herald opening of Games

Leading drummer Matthew Shaw and snare drummer Ben McKeown who performed at the opening ceremony of the World Police and Fire Games.
Leading drummer Matthew Shaw and snare drummer Ben McKeown who performed at the opening ceremony of the World Police and Fire Games.
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Members of the Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band helped opened the World Police and Fire Games in Northern Ireland this week.

Lead Drummer Matthew Shaw and snare drummer Ben McKeown from the Ballyclare band performed as part of the Titanic Drums show at the opening ceremony at the King’s Hall in Belfast.

Both performed in front of an 18,000 strong audience with many more thousands watching online.

Carty McCallister, chairman of the band offered his congratulations to the young lads.

He said: “This is great for Matthew and Ben, all the their hard work over the year has really paid off for them.

“We have a great spirit in the band with so many lovely local people working very hard to make the band a fun place to be in and perform with.

“It is great to see the youth in the band like Matthew and Ben, to name but a few, coming through to replace us old timers.”

The Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band is named after Major John Maynard Sinclair the Ulster Unionist Finance Minister who lost his life in the Princess Victoria ferry disaster in 1953.

The Band was formed in 1957 with amalgamation of the William Johnston Memorial and the Emanuel Pipe Band.

The band wears Black Stewart tartan and is Graded 4A in the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, for competitions both at home and in Scotland.

The band recently received funding from the Ulster Scots agency and the Arts Council to offer people from Ballyclare and beyond a music school.

In conjunction with the The Northern Ireland Piping and Drumming School, lessons will begin on Tuesday, August 13 from 7pm to 9pm in the Linfield Supporters’ Club in Ballyclare.

The band is looking for talented people with an interest in taking up the bagpipes or drumming.

Anyone wishing to learn more should go along on the night or contact Pipe Major John Fittis on 078 6612 9726 or Drum Sergeant Matthew Shaw on 077 7264 1770.

You can also follow the band on facebook.