Piper puts down his bagpipes

A SCOTTISH piper living in Suffolk is today putting down his bagpipes after a decade of performing at an Ipswich pub. Alex Carruthers moved to Suffolk 35 years ago but has been determined to bring his Scottish heritage to the county.

A SCOTTISH piper living in Suffolk is today putting down his bagpipes after a decade of performing at an Ipswich pub.

Alex Carruthers moved to Suffolk 35 years ago but has been determined to bring his Scottish heritage to the county.

As a child he learnt how to play the bagpipes and brought them with him when he moved to his home in Second Avenue, Trimley St Mary.

The 60-year-old has practiced regularly and said he really enjoys giving performances to audiences.

He said: “Music was never a big part of school when I was growing up but we did have a chance to learn the bagpipes.

“With it I learnt the history of the music and became passionate about them.

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“So when I moved to Suffolk I carried on playing in the house but always wanted to play them where they could be appreciated.

“Many people know what they are but have never seen them or heard them being played live.”

It was not until a regular at the Golf Hotel, in Foxhall Road, Ipswich, approached Mr Carruthers that he was able to live out his dream by playing for customers at the pub's annual Burns' night.

However he has now decided it is time for a change and has told the pub that this year would be his last.

Mr Carruthers said: “I like the music and so it has been great fun to perform over the years. It always helps to add the right atmosphere to the night too.

“I will still play the bagpipes though and hope to give talks and performances for groups in the area.

“I am already going to visit a Brownies club nearby to talk to the members about my pipes.”

Iain Dickinson, who organised for Mr Carruthers to play at The Golf, said: “Alex is really quite a character and I have loved listening to him over the years.

“We will have to try and find another piper but it will be difficult in this area.”

N Do you play an unusual insturment? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

· Scotland did not invent the bagpipes but claim to be the country that developed them into an art.

· Most countries have tried to use the pipes, including England. However, it is only in Scotland that they have survived long enough to become a great musical instrument.

· The Highland bagpipes are blown by mouth whereas the Lowland and Border pipes are blown by a bellow under the arm.

· The bags on bagpipes are traditionally made out of the skin of a whole sheep but modern versions use leather, rubber or other synthetic materials.

· The bagpipes have been banned twice in Scotland, once in 1560 and again in 1746.

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