Ballymoney boy brings honour to his home town

A Ballymoney teenager has won the Juvenile Section 1 World Solo Pipe Band Drumming Title held in the Glasgow Caledonia University.

Dalraida pupil John McLean (13) beat off stiff competition in the final from 21 other drummers in his section to claim the title.

Mum Helen said: “The family are so proud when the result was called I just burst into tears.”

A member of the PSNI Pipes and Drums, John started drumming when he was just seven years old and has competed with a few local Pipe Bands since then but joined the PSNI Pipes & Drums last year.

Pipe Sgt Keith Davison of The PSNI Pipes & Drums explained: “We are all thrilled for John, It is a fantastic achievement for him personally, given that the Bands Drum Corps are current Scottish & European Champions, as well as International Champion of Champions in Grade 3A. We are delighted to have John as a member of the Band and thankful for the support of his family.”

He added he was looking forward to competing with John and the Band in Grade 2 in 2013.

There were four Drumming titles up for grabs on Saturday - Juvenile Sections 1,2,3 & Adult and Section 2, 3 and Adult which were all won by members of Scottish Bands. John was the only winner bringing the trophy home to a Northern Ireland Band.

Back in 1953 John’s Grandmother made local news with the headline ‘Ballymoney girl brings honour to her home town’ when she won an award for running, 60 years later she has seen her Grandson create the same headline.

John’s older brother Aaron a member of World Champions Field Marshall Montgomery who helps teach John also had a good day reaching the Adult Final from over 70 entrants.

Local MLA and family friend Mervyn Storey added: “This is a great achievement, firstly for John personally and it’s a great source of pride for his family, for Ballymoney and indeed for Northern Ireland. Any one listening to John playing over the last few months would have known he was destined for this success. He has immense talent and is definitely keeping up the family tradition and following in his big brother Aaron’s footsteps. We are rightly proud of him”.

John wanted to thank his Mum and Dad and brothers Aaron and Timothy for their support especially mum Helen who takes him to most of the practices and competitions.

He would also like to thank brother Aaron and Mr Ian Lawson from SFU Pipe Band in Canada who tutor him and of course the drum corps and pipers from the PSNI Pipes and Drums and anyone else who has helped him along the way.

This is the last competition of the year but there is no rest for John as the Band has already started work on next year’s drum scores.