After a brief illness, the Society’s chairman, Martin Lowe, died on October 9th. Here, fellow-committee member Pete Stewart recalls his friendship and adds his own celebration of Martin’s life

Martin and I served together on the Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society committee for four years; for the last two of those Martin was the Society’s chairman. Throughout that time he had acted as  my chauffeur, ferrying me to and from committee meetings - time enough, you might have thought, for me to learn a great deal about this man. And yet, as is so often the case, it was not until his funeral service that I learnt just how much he had contributed to the two worlds to which he devoted so much of his time, of education and of piping.

Our time on those journeys, (and they several times involved travelling to piping events and meetings down into Northumberland, a two-hour drive each way) was spent with Martin posing questions he thought I might know the answers to, mostly about lowland piping and lowland music, and proposing new ventures to expand the influence and activities of the Society.

In the last year or so we began meeting regularly in our kitchen on a Tuesday evening where Martin (who always arrived with suitable refreshments) continued his exploration of the lowland pipe repertoire and in the process taught me a good deal of what I know of highland pipe technique - he often reminded me that my fingering needed tighter control. He encouraged me to play fiddle with his piping, and this past summer had begun to come up with bookings for us at a range of events via his extensive list of contacts with local activities, from the local festival open-mike session to a
mid-summer gathering in an eco-house in an East Lothian woodland development project.

He combined his enthusiasm for piping with his life-long involvement in education - he was awarded the OBE for his services to higher education, having been secretary of three Scottish Universities, spending the last twelve years of his working-life at Edinburgh - by firstly helping establish the piping degree at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow and then by working with Jock Agnew to produce the teacher’s handbook for bellows pipes, published by the LBPS as ‘The Wind in the Bellows’.

A full list of his involvements in committees and societies would fill a page in itself; he was Honorary Secretary of the Royal Scottish Pipers Society, Champion Piper of the Glasgow Highland Club this year, a trustee of the East Lothian Pipes and Drums Trust and a member of the Army Piping Committee; he was piper to the Chancellor of St Andrews University as well as serving on the General Council Business Committee. He was a keen student of pibroch, but he was equally happy to play for dancers; once he asked me if I could provide him with the music to ‘The Lambton Worm’,
a tune specially requested by the team of dancers he was to play with on a visit to Sweden. Swedish music was another of his eclectic musical involvements - he was preparing to publish a collection of Swedish music for bellows pipes, work-
ing with a Swedish piper.

Martin was also an accomplished master of ceremonies and his running of the LBPS evenings at the Glasgow Piping Live Festival made those evenings a great success; he was also able to introduce the competitors for the annual competition whilst competing in many of the classes himself.
Despite all this activity he somehow managed to remain a dedicated family man. Visits to the home he and his wife Janet (whom he had married in 1966) had set up in Gullane on the East Lothian coast were always a treat, filled as it is with celebrations of their family and their interests. Listening to tales told in the eulogy given at his funeral service, of his early days as a geologist and mountain-climber, to the descriptions of him playing his pipes on the ferry from Kyle of Lochalsh to Portree, to the stories of him leading his family up the Munro that completed his collection, I can only re-
gret not having known him longer and better; however, when I consider his generosity, his hospitality and his enthusiasm for life, I feel privileged to have known him as well as I did.

Martin Lowe of Gullane
[This tune arrived anonymously ]