Katie becomes national youth band's first bagpiper in wheelchair

15-year-old recognised as one of the country's best young bagpipers.

Katie Robertson becomes National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland first bagpiper in wheelchair STV News
Katie Robertson hopes to change attitudes towards people with disabilities.

A teenager has become the first wheelchair user to join the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland.

Katie Robertson, from Carnoustie, Angus, took up the bagpipes a year ago and has since won two national competitions.

The 15-year-old hopes her achievements will help change attitudes towards people with disabilities.

“I didn’t think I was going to get in,” said Katie. “But getting that email [confirming my selection] was just amazing.

“There are not a lot of pipers in wheelchairs, so getting into the band was just fantastic because it’s a new area for me to explore.

“Things are changing and becoming more inclusive.”

For Katie, the news comes after a tough 12 months that have seen her undergo major surgery to fix two curves in her spine and fusion treatment for arthritis which affects her hands.

But the health setbacks haven’t stopped her being recognised as one of the best young pipers in the country

Steven Blake, of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, said: “Katie’s through for the same reason every other applicant is through, in that she not only displayed a fantastic attitude, but is also at the appropriate level to make the most of the experience and to contribute as a player.

“The speed at which she has developed is really impressive. But if you also put into perfective the physical limitations Katie has had to overcome, it’s absolutely astounding and really inspiring for all of us.”

Katie hopes her story will help to tackle the stigma surrounding people with disabilities.

“I hope to change people’s perceptions and change things for people,” she said. “I don’t focus on being in a chair, I focus on playing the bagpipes.

“It’s wonderful to see that other people are thinking that way, thinking I’m a good piper, not thinking I’m a piper in a wheelchair.”