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VIDEO: Black belt bagpiper Sandy leads Montrose nursing home Remembrance commemoration

Montrose piper Sandy Johnstone and Ceryn the mare at Fordmill in Montrose. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media

A black belt bagpiper has brought a special touch to Remembrance commemorations at an Angus nursing home.

Sandy Johnstone is well-known in Montrose for his piping as well as playing at events throughout Tayside and beyond.

During the first lockdown, he played for residents in the streets around his home as part of the weekly Clap for Carers supporting NHS staff.

Fordmill nursing home
Pipe Sandy Johnstone with residents of Fordmill nursing home in Montrose. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

And the 72-year-old donned his Modern Macbeth full regalia to surprise the residents of Fordmill nursing home in Mill Street.

The home has put up a special illuminated display in honour of the centenary of the Legion in Scotland.

Sandy said: “Music is to please folk and most people love the pipes.

“During lockdown I wanted to do my bit in the Clap for Carers.

“And Remembrance is such an important event each year that I am happy to play when asked.”

Equine arrival

The Fordmill event also welcomed its own war horse with the poppy-adorned mare called Ceryn.

And 95-year old resident Raymond Newton, a veteran of the Merchant Navy, delivered a tribute to the fallen as part of the commemoration.

Public remembrance events are being held across Tayside on Thursday and this weekend for the first time since the pandemic began.

Montrose Remembrance
Piper Sandy Johnstone and 95-year-old Merchant Navy veteran Raymond Newton. Pic: Gareth Jennings/DCT Media.

Sandy has played at events including New York’s Tartan Day parade and the Beating Retreat at Edinburgh Castle.

He added: “I’m also going to play for a Remembrance event at Castle Lodge nursing home in Inverbervie, and the Legion veterans dinner.

“I love playing and it’s nice if people enjoy it.”

But he still finds time to fit in training sessions at Brothock Shotokan karate in Arbroath – a decade after taking up the sport in which he gained his 1st Dan black belt.

The former lorry driver said: “My granddaughter did karate and when she said she was going to give it up I told her I’d go along with her to training.

“I was 62 when I started it.

“She then gave it up, but I decided to stick at it.

“I worked my way through the nine belts and then thought I should give the black belt a go.

“I was 66 by that time and it was quite tough. But I was really proud to achieve it.

“It’s a great club and they were really supportive of me – I still try to go twice a week.”

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