A CALENDAR which is shipped all over the world is helping a popular pipe band to celebrate a major milestone.

Haddington Pipe Band is toasting its 40th year and released its annual calendar in the town last Saturday.

Alastair Bruce, a board member of the band, was pleased to say the calendar, which has a theme of ‘And the Band Played’, had proven popular.

He said: “The response has been great. We have had really good support from sponsors again and we just launched it last Saturday.

“We got a good number of folk turning up at that and now I am just about to take it out to the shops and other outlets who are selling it for us.

“The Loft has got the exhibition of the calendar’s photographs and that is there until January.

“Obviously, we’ve not been able to play this last couple of years until the last month or so.

“We were not able to take new shots so we have looked back over the last few years and sourced photographs of the band in action.

“The theme is ‘And the Band Played’ and each month is us playing at galas, at a wedding, a festival, on stage in France and just different types of events that we have covered here and further afield over the years.”

Mr Bruce was expecting some of the calendars to make their way over the English Channel but that is not the only far-flung destination.

He said: “One of the first calendars is going to Australia. That is fairly typical and they have gone to India, Spain, the USA, Canada, Africa – it’s really good.”

Photographs have been provided by regular supporters of the band, including Nick Callaghan and Garry Menzies.

The pipe band attracts members aged from eight to 80, with more than a dozen pipers and a number of drummers.

However, the past 18 months have seen the band sidelined when it comes to getting out in the community.

Mr Bruce told the Courier that plans to mark the 40th year were being drawn up, although it depended upon coronavirus restrictions remaining eased.

He added: “We would probably have made a bit more of a song and dance about it if things had been different.

“We are back out playing now and were at the farmers’ market last Saturday, as well as doing the launch.

“We have been to a wedding and doing other things as well.

“We have not been able to practise together but have been doing Zoom calls every week, which sounds ridiculous but we have been doing that and playing on the chanter rather than the full pipes.”

The calendar, which costs £5, is a key part of the band’s fundraising, with the money going to uniforms, instruments, tuition and other initiatives.

Mr Bruce added: “People in the band don’t pay for their uniforms, there is no subscription to be a band member and we try to keep it so anybody can join and play.

“We provide instruments and all that costs quite a lot of money.

“The secret of the calendar is that we try to get something that people are happy to have on their walls.

“People buy it to support us but we want to have good photographs so people enjoy having it on their walls.”