There was an added spring in Andrew Ainslie’s step at the end of Reivers Week after he’d been given the news that he is Duns citizen of the year 2014.
As in years gone by, Andrew was right at the heart of the festivities, proudly leading the town’s pipe band and various events during the week including the crowning of the Wynsome Mayde and the torchlight parade.
So it was only right that in a break from tradition for Duns Rotary Club, who hand out the honour, they presented Andrew with his award on the closing night of Reiver’s Week in front of a large crowd which included his bandmates.
The band’s drum major Colin Turner put Andrew forward for the title with his nomination letter saying that without Andrew there simply wouldn’t be a Duns Pipe Band.
Elaborating on the point, Colin added: “Of course Andrew has help, but without his dedication and leadership, the Band wouldn’t look or sound as good as it does year in year out.”
The man himself is rather modest, explaining that he never expected to get any praise for just doing something he loves.
“The whole thing is incredibly humbling and pretty heartening,” he commented.
“And to have the award presented in Duns square during Reiver’s Week and in front of the band in full regalia was a great moment.
“It was a complete surprise. I didn’t have any clue at all.
“It’s nice that people will take the time to put you forward for some recognition, but I don’t seek praise and I never expected to get such an honour.”
Andrew comes from a family with a proud piping background.
It was Andrew’s grandfather’s brother, Tom Ainslie who started Duns Pipe Band as it is now in the early 1840s. And of course Andrew’s dad Tim, like his son, was a much loved and well respected pipe major.
Andrew started playing with the band as a boy in 1967 and had a five year spell in the ranks before joining the army in 1972.
He then became a piper with the Black Watch for six years before returning to Duns in 1979.
Andrew took over the pipe major mantel in 1987 and for nearly 30 years has been leading the band with pride.
His involvement with the army has seen him play the bagpipes in world famous venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall and New York’s Madison Square Gardens.
But Andrew said when it comes to choosing a place he feels most proud to play there’s no place like home.
“For me I never feel a greater sense of pride than when the band are looking and sounding great marching through Duns.
“And it’s even better when you turn round and see so many young faces looking back at you.
“The pipe band has done a lot for younger musicians; not only do we help them with their playing it also helps build their confidence.
“I don’t think big events in Duns would be the same without the pipe band. We add a bit of vibrancy to proceedings.
“I’m massively honoured to be pipe major and to win Duns Citizen of the Year.”