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Thousands of pipers descend on Paisley for one of world’s biggest events

The British Pipe Band Championships saw huge crowds flock to the town’s St James Playing Fields for the first of the five annual ‘majors’ in the piping calendar.

A total of 123 bands from across the UK and Ireland took part across the day and in the spectacular final march-past, with individual competitors from as far afield as the USA, Denmark and Belgium.

The big winners on the day were the St. Laurence O'Toole Pipe Band who picked up the top prize in the prestigious Grade One competition

Local interest on the day included the Johnstone, Kilbarchan and Renfrewshire Schools Pipe bands.

Visitors enjoyed a day of free family entertainment including a Highland Games competition with caber-tossing and a Scottish Open Strongman contest featuring World’s Strongest Man competitors.

The event was organised by Renfrewshire Council and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. This was the fourth year the championships have taken place in Paisley – with the area contracted to continue to host until 2021.

Previous events had generated more than £300k for the local economy, with half the attendees visitors to Renfrewshire and 7% from outwith Scotland.

Free transport had been organised to and from the event site in partnership with bus firm McGill’s.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said: “We were delighted to welcome the British Pipe Band Championships to Paisley for another year of what has been a really successful partnership.

“Hosting an international event like this generates a massive economic boost for the area and brings huge volumes of footfall into the town. It also helps further cement Paisley and Renfrewshire’s place as one of Scotland’s premier destinations for major events.”

Ian Embelton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, added: “The British Championships are the first of our five major championships taking place throughout the summer and we saw a top-class display of piping and drumming from the world’s best.

“Once again, the people of Renfrewshire came out in numbers to support the event – Paisley is a great location and host venue, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the town over the next two years.”