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Pipe Major Andrew Ainslie BEM

In the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2018, Pipe Major Andrew Ainslie was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to music and the community in Berwickshire.

We asked Andrew how he felt, here's what he said:
It's hard to put in to words how I feel about receiving such an honour, as I never imagined I'd have to.
Duns Pipe Band was founded in 1942 by Tom Ainslie, my grandfather's brother, a man who recognised that this community needed and deserved one. My Grandfather Tim Ainslie and my own father, also Tim, were pipers, as was my father's brother George. I joined the bands piping class in 1965 as a nine year-old learner, playing with the band until I was 15, and rejoining when I returned from the army at age 21. It's fair to say, Duns Pipe Band is very much in the family.
That said, I never thought that 40 years later I'd be pipe major of the band as it continues to thrive at the beating heart of Berwickshire.
Even after all this time, I’ve never lost my enthusiasm for playing and performing with the band. I’ve always just done what I’ve done. I've had the privilege of first playing with then leading the band at events that form the lifeblood of our towns and villages over five decades, from gala days in Swinton, where I grew up, to Reiver's Week in Duns, the band's and my home.
I have been lucky enough to take the band to countless major championships, even winning the Scottish grade 4a title in 2007 but my greatest source of pride is undoubtedly in helping to bring on the next generation of pipers in Duns and the surrounding area, and the next, and the next.
I first helped my father with teaching his piping class in Swinton, and then when I succeeded him as Pipe major in 1987 have taken a twice weekly class in Duns ever since. I’ve never really thought much about it, it’s just what I’ve always done. I simply wanted to keep the band going and teaching our own seemed the best way to do it.
It has been very heartening to see so many young people come through the ranks of the band, often shy, reserved individuals then growing in confidence and skill before maturing into confident young adults. All of them skilled with their instruments and every bit team players. Growing as musicians, growing as people. Some have gone on to great things, others have simply achieved their ambition, like me, of playing for Duns Pipe Band. Whatever their achievements, I’m very proud of them all.

It’s tremendously humbling to think that someone has taken the time to nominate me for this honour, and thought me worthy of receiving it. I am pleased, proud and flattered, and extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who have helped Duns Pipe Band continue to form such an important part of the community. 

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