THE skirl of the bagpipes will soon be heard throughout Renfrew’s schools with free tuition set to be rolled out to pupils in the town.

Qualified instructors from former world champions Johnstone Pipe Band have been teaching pupils in their home town and Linwood for the last three years.

But now, after receiving a £10,000 grant from Renfrewshire Council, tuition will soon be available at Renfrew High School and Trinity High School as well as the town’s three primary schools; Arkleston, Newmains and Kirklandneuk.

It means pupils in Renfrew will get the chance to join the newly-formed Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band, which has already competed in six contests and been in the prize list every time since being established in March.

Before Johnstone Pipe Band began teaching pupils piping and drumming there was no tuition in Renfrewshire.

Treasurer Alan McGeoch told The Gazette: “We found it bizarre how it was easier to learn the glockenspiel than the bagpipes in Scottish schools.

“We are delighted to announce the band will be providing tuition in Renfrew now with funding provided by the Renfrew and Gallowhill Local Area Committee.

“The project has been so successful that earlier this year the Renfrewshire Schools Pipe Band was formed. They have made an impressive start to their first season.

“As a brand new band with no funds and no uniform the band initially competed in school uniforms.

“The local area committees have provided some funds to help equip the band, but the biggest boost to the project was the donation of uniforms from the office bearers of Paisley Pipe Band which stopped competing about five years ago.

“We are so grateful to Maureen Gilmour for donating these uniforms. It has given the new band a great start.”

Tuition will now be available in 20 schools in the region, so new pipers and drummers should be entering the band thick and fast.

The band finished off its season this year with performances at the Rothesay Highland Games and the Cowal Highland Gathering, Dunoon.

Pipe Major Keith James Bowes said: “The difference from the first competition in March to the last one has been amazing.”

Johnstone Pipe Band have had a successful season themselves after the Grade 4b and Grade 2 band were crowned world champions last year. The Grade 4A band clinched third place at the British Pipe Band Championships in Paisley while Grade 1 band came 10th out of 16.

The band will tour Germany at the end of November.