American bagpiper's beloved Kintail set finds a new home in Scotland

Andi Gamblin donates instruments to Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust's amnesty.

Andi Gamblin: The 45-year American has donated her first set of bagpipes.
Andi Gamblin: The 45-year American has donated her first set of bagpipes.

A campaign to encourage new bagpipe players has been bolstered after an American woman sent her treasured pipes more than 4000 miles to a new home in Scotland.

The Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust’s Bagpipe Amnesty was launched to appeal to players who may have unused instruments gathering dust at home.

Any donated bagpipes are given to a new player, with the hope they will have more success at learning the historic Scottish instrument.

Andi Gamblin from Kansas heard about the appeal on Facebook and arranged for her Kintail pipes to be sent the 4200 miles from her home to the trust’s Edinburgh headquarters.

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The 44-year-old has no direct Scottish roots but she has been playing the pipes for 15 years and has travelled across the US playing with various pipe bands.

She currently plays with the Kansas City St Andrews Pipes and Drums. The pipes she donated were her very first set.

Bagpipes: Andi Gamblin has travelled the US with various pipe bands. STV

Ms Gamblin said: “It is hard to part with my pipes because they have been through so much with me.

“But after my husband surprised me with a new set of pipes for our 11th wedding anniversary, it makes no sense to have them sitting around for sentimental reasons when a child, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to play, could have their life enriched.

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“I first started playing the pipes in 2001 in California and I fell in love with the instrument straight away.

“My first set of pipes have served me well for 14 years but it is time for them to be put to good use again.

“Piping can help change young people’s lives for the better so I think what the Bagpipe Amnesty is doing is fantastic.

“I am delighted to be able to support this campaign. I am sure many people will have old pipes lying around and they don’t know what to do with them. It’s great that they can now donate to such a fantastic cause.

“I have always wanted to travel to Scotland but haven’t yet been able to. Maybe one day soon I will be able to come over and hear the students play the pipes, and maybe even my original set?”

So far the amnesty has collected 14 sets of bagpipes and two sets of pipe band drums.

The trust loans donated pipes to young people who cannot afford to buy a set but who want to learn.

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Trust chief executive Alexandra Duncan said: “It is amazing that we are receiving messages of support and donations from around the world. It shows that piping is important to so many people.

“We are delighted to receive these pipes from Andi and we hope that her generous donation will encourage others from across the globe to donate.

“We are helping more than 1000 children across the country to learn the pipes and drums in state schools. This includes youngsters from some of Scotland’s most deprived areas who would never have the chance to learn piping.”

Unwanted pipes and drums can be handed into one of 66 fire stations across Scotland that are supporting the Bagpipe Amnesty, as well as being handed into Wallace Bagpipes.

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