Hugh Macknight
By Hugh Macknight

Staff Writer

13 June 2019

| | 3 min read

Council

Lord Mayor's Piper David rewarded for his service to the city

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle’s Piper has been rewarded for decades of service to the city.
 

David Bailey won The Lord Mayor's Award
David Bailey won The Lord Mayor's Award

David Bailey was appointed Piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1988 and has since served more than 30 Lord Mayors.

At a special ceremony in Newcastle Mansion House the Northumbrian piper from Lemington Road Ends received The Lord Mayor’s Award, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to life in Newcastle.

The dad of twins, who is a retired teacher, 67, said: “I wasn’t expecting this at all.

“It is a special award and one which I am really honoured to receive for my thirty years of service as the Lord Mayor’s piper, which is an honour in itself.

“It is a privileged position to be in, as it is to meet all the people and visit the incredible places that come with it.

“Previously Kathryn Tickell was the Lord Mayor’s piper until her work commitments took over. I was then invited to take her place and I’ve been here for thirty years since.

“It’s included some very memorable occasions.

“The most memorable was when I piped for the Queen at the electrification of the East Coast Main Line in 1991.

“Every Lord Mayor for every city on that train line between London and Edinburgh came to Newcastle to be greeted by the Queen.

“It’s a job that must be done in rain or shine, whatever the weather. I once had to play at Gypsies Green Stadium on the South Shields sea front for a Northumbria Military Tattoo, where they erected for the event scaffolding with a big false façade of a castle fixed to it.

“On the second day it all blew down. I’d been stood on the top of it the night before..”

David’s work for the successive Lord Mayors over the last 30 years has been in a voluntary capacity rather than a paid position.

The Office of Mayor is one of the oldest surviving civic institutions in the city and during 2016 – 2017 the city celebrated the 800th anniversary of having mayor.

David Bailey was appointed Piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1988 and has since served more than 30 Lord Mayors.

Meet the Lord Mayor's Piper

Newcastle is one of a limited number of places that can trace named mayors back over 800 years of history.

Newcastle City Council leader Cllr Nick Forbes said: “David has been Piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle upon Tyne for over 30 years and started in this voluntary role when Derek Webster was lord Mayor in 1988.

“He is regularly called upon to offer a traditional welcome to visiting dignitaries from home and abroad and has also played for members of the Royal Family.

“He always plays at the annual mayor making ceremony, Christmas dinners, awards ceremonies and charity events, and regularly at citizenship ceremonies to the delight of new citizens of the city and country. 

“He is always charming, pleasant and professional, very smart in his Northumbrian tartan costume and happy to chat to guests about his craft.

“He is certainly regarded as a person of distinction in his field and the traditional melodies played on the pipes continue to thrive in his hands.”

The Lord Mayor of Newcastle Cllr David Cook said: “David has been the Lord Mayor’s Piper for over thirty years; that means he’s served more than 30 Lord Mayors.

“People are always impressed by the civic ceremonies being started by the Northumbrian Pipes, particularly people who have never visited the city before.

“It’s well overdue time he was given some kind of civic recognition for his efforts.

“In fact, this was probably the first time he’s been to the Mansion House during that significant time frame when he hasn’t actually been working!

Previous winners of the Lord Mayor’s Award include:

Father Michael Conaty MBE in recognition of many years service to the people of Newcastle and in particular, his support for young people in the East End of the City (2008)

Betty Hutchinson in recognition of her outstanding commitment to the people of Pottery Bank and the wider community (2009)

Veena Soni in recognition of her dedicated work with the Black and Ethnic Minority community in the North East, the North East Cultural Trust and the NSPCC (2011)

Ian Johnson in recognition of his tireless work to raise the profile of the 16th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers, now no longer forgotten with lasting memorials in the City and in France. (2016)

Brian Clark in recognition of his tireless work running Walker Central Football Club for young people in the East End of Newcastle for over 30 years, including Lee Clark, Paul Gascoigne, Ian Bogie and more recently Shola and Sammy Ameobi. (2018)

He is certainly regarded as a person of distinction in his field and the traditional melodies played on the pipes continue to thrive in his hands.

Cllr Nick Forbes

Leader of Newcastle City Council