World Champions celebrate in style

Paul Girvan MLA (left) and John Fittis (centre) present a gift to Major Sinclair Memorial chariman Cartie McAllister in recognition of the band being crowned 2015 Grade 4A World Champions. INNT 50-523CON
Paul Girvan MLA (left) and John Fittis (centre) present a gift to Major Sinclair Memorial chariman Cartie McAllister in recognition of the band being crowned 2015 Grade 4A World Champions. INNT 50-523CON

Members of the Ballyclare-based Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band held their annual Christmas dinner in Freemasons’ Hall, Arthur Square, Belfast on Saturday evening, December 5.

But this year’s event was different, because for the first time in their long history the band were meeting to celebrate Christmas as World Champions.

Oliver McIlwaine and Evie McKeown are pictured presenting flowers to Kim Harris (Public Relations Officer) in recognition of her loyal service to the band. INNT 50-524CON

Oliver McIlwaine and Evie McKeown are pictured presenting flowers to Kim Harris (Public Relations Officer) in recognition of her loyal service to the band. INNT 50-524CON

Back in August on Glasgow Green the band ended a very successful year by being crowned Grade 4A World Champions.

Special guests at the dinner included Paul Girvan MLA and his wife, Alderman Mandy Girvan, and also Mrs Jean Fittis, proud mother of John Fittis, the band’s Pipe Major.

During the evening, John Fittis, assisted by Paul Girvan, presented World Championship commemorative medals to the band members.

Prior to the presentation, Mr Fittis recalled memories of the day the band won the title in Glasgow and said: “I felt God’s presence that day and it will remain the best day of my life.”

John Fittis snr and his wife Helen, Jean Fittis, Adam Fittis and John Fittis jnr and his wife Jemma pictured at Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band's annual Christmas dinner in the Freemasons' Hall, Arthur Square, Belfast on Saturday, December 5. INNT 50-526CON Pics by John Kelly

John Fittis snr and his wife Helen, Jean Fittis, Adam Fittis and John Fittis jnr and his wife Jemma pictured at Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band's annual Christmas dinner in the Freemasons' Hall, Arthur Square, Belfast on Saturday, December 5. INNT 50-526CON Pics by John Kelly

Special presentations were also made to PM John Fittis and to the band’s chairman, Cartie McAllister, a former piper in the band (1960 to 2009) and the longest serving member of the band. Also, young Oliver McIlwaine and Evie McKeown presented flowers to Kim Harris, the band’s Public Relations Officer, in recognition of her years of loyal service.

Major Sinclair Memorial officials and members expressed their thanks to Mr and Mrs Girvan for their continuing support of the band.

Formed in 1957, 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 meets in the Torrens Hall, Doagh on Tuesdays (7pm - 10pm) and Wednesdays (7pm - 9pm).

For more information check out the Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band Facebook page.