None more so than those of our own Middlesex Brother, Iain Raymond.
Under normal circumstances Bro Iain of Bedfont Lodge, No. 8381 would have been in demand, as Lodges would have requested his presence to enhance their Burns Night celebrations.
This year was a little different with no meetings and no celebrations possible (apart from virtual ones).
Iain’s fame is not just restricted to Masonic circles.
Indeed, in the past he has performed in the presence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II at one of her garden parties.
He also appeared on national television in an episode of “Call the Midwife”, which was broadcast at Christmas 2019. ( see – https://pglm.org.uk/l8381-piper/)
Through his local pipe band, the Oatlands Park Pipe Band, which since 1953 has been based in Weybridge Surrey a request was received for a Piper to help celebrate a 100th birthday.
This was made by the Reverend John H McCabe Rector of St Mary’s Anglican Church based in Byfleet, Surrey.
The recipient of the musical gift was the Reverend Canon Philip Gardner who resides with his wife at the Barnes Wallace Care Home in Byfleet.
Philip is a World War 2 Naval veteran and in 1940 joined up seeing service at the D Day landings and later in the Far East around VE day where the war was not quite over.
The Reverend Canon would also celebrate his 71st wedding anniversary in 2021.
A Sound of Music –On Thursday 4th March reporters from the Woking News & Mail were present to document the event for the wider world, which must have been a very moving ceremony.
Iain piped the Rev. John H. McCabe, together with his wife to the window behind which the Rev.
Canon Philip Gardner was seated (Covid restrictions making an indoor visit impossible).
Bro Iain approached the window playing “When the Battle’s o’er”, followed by 2 verses of “Amazing Grace” – the Canon’s favourite hymn.
A short speech followed from the Rev. John McCabe, which was followed by all present gustily singing “Happy Birthday”, to the obvious delight of the birthday boy himself.
Then the piper then escorted the Reverend McCabe and his wife away.
He and his wife Pauline moved to the parish of St Mary’s and the village of Byfleet where they had a long, busy and happy retirement.
Philip was still preaching with distinction into his 90s.
Hopefully, the bagpipes can be kept unbagged and Bro Iain will have a full itinerary after lockdown and give pleasure to the many who see the bagpipes not as an instrument of war, but an instrument, the sound of which brings joy to many in these Great British Islands.
A thanks to W. Bro Frank O’Keeffe, Media Team member for this contribution.
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