Donnachaidh Scholarship Awards

TWO TALENTED young women piper's were presented with the Donnachaidh Piping Scholarship at the Edinburgh Bagpipe Company (EBC), The Gael, Bexhill on Saturday.

In order to win the scholarship's both Anneka Burgess, and Sylwia Skrzypek, not only had to write letters to the EBC stating why they should be chosen to win the award but, have been learning the art of playing the bagpipes for between twelve to eighteen months.

Praising them for their commitment and hard work, Patricia Donoghue, proprietor of the EBC said: "These young women have been chosen as recipients of this award having been nominated by their pipe majors for their dedication to learning and determination to achieve their goal."

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Sylwia and Anneka were each awarded a set of bagpipes which they will keep for a period of one year.

Sylwia, 23 is Polish and has lived in the UK for two years. She became interested in becoming a piper when she met her now fiance, Pipe Major of the Bexhill based Robertson Pipe & Drum Academy, Robert Reid who presented her with her award.

She said: "I am very happy that I have received this award because it is something that I will use to learn the pipes and learn about the country and, I want to be a piper."

Anneka, from Hastings said that she is hoping to progress her piping skills to a higher level adding,

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"I'm hoping it will give me a lot more confidence especially to go out on the parade and have more of an impact on the band."

Presenting Anneka with her award, Pipe Major of the 1066 Pipes and Drums, Martyn Hacker said both ladies had done "very, very well" and, as Anneka is a member of the 1066 Pipes and Drums, he said, "I can't wait to get her out on parade."

The origin of the award came about when, a few years ago Bexhill police heard that Chris Evans, a young student and new recruit of Glenmoor Piping, wanted to learn to play the bagpipes and, in response, they donated funds to purchase the first set of bagpipes for the award.

Proprietor of Glenmoor Piping, Tim Hickmott taught Chris for two years and, the award proved to be a resounding success as Chris is now a Pipe Corporal at the Robertson Pipe and Drum Academy.

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Patricia said: "Both Tim and myself are delighted to see the idea has proved such a success, which is why EBC has now added a second set of bagpipes to the award stable; it's so wonderful to see young talent flourish and grow."

It seems that there is something of a Highland Clan regeneration happening in Bexhill as Patricia explained how the name of the award came about: "Donnachaidh is the ancient form of Donoghue, which links down to MacDonald, Reid, and Robertson as well as Donoghue. It's quite interesting as it would appear the academy is a regeneration of the Clan. We have Pipe Major Reid, myself, no less than six MacDonald's, and a Tyler-Murphy whose ancestry goes back to MacDonald as well."

Patricia is hoping that both Anneka and Sylwia will play in the Pipefest parade on May 24th when she said Bexhill will, "rock to the sound of the pipes and drums."

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