by Chris Tobin
Ray Jackson’s involvement with the South Canterbury Highland Pipe Band over many years has been marked in a unique way.
A special tune has been penned in his honour by the band’s musical director, Scott Shannon.
The sheet of music was delivered to Mr Jackson (76) at his Timaru home last week.
“It was a bombshell; I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
“I was absolutely staggered and chuffed.”
Mr Jackson became active helping pipe bands with administration when his daughter, Sheryl, started playing the pipes in 1983.
“They had a ladies pipe band in Timaru then.”
A non-piper himself, Mr Jackson took a position on the committee but two years later the band wound up.
“Then I went to the Scottish Society and was on the committee there also and in 1987 I went to the City of Timaru band as it was then called. I’ve been there ever since, 33 years.
“I love the music and made a lot of friends.”
His personal highlight came when the band attended the world championships in Glasgow in 2009.
“We finished seventh in our grade which was a great effort; it made it worth all the effort.”
Mr Jackson had served two terms as the band president and been involved in helping to organise four New Zealand championships in Timaru.
“The last time was in 2013; it was a major occasion and we had big crowds.”
Like many other organisations, the band struggled for numbers these days.
“A lot of the younger ones move on; it’s a constant battle and the gear is expensive.”
Besides the pipe band Mr Jackson was also active in Timaru Host Lions serving as treasurer.
Meanwhile, Mr Shannon said he wrote the music during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“It’s upbeat and comes across as an happy and toe-tapping tune.”
He said the tribute to Mr Jackson was richly deserved.
“Ray is always doing a lot for others in the community. He’s an absolute gentleman.”
He expected the tune would be played publicly for the first time next summer.