THE NEW LEADER of the company behind Forres’ hosting of the annual European Pipe Band Championships has paid tribute to the men who brought the event to Moray.
Alan James has been appointed as the new chairman of Forres Events Ltd., succeeding Ian Widdowson who tragically died from injuries received in road accident on New Year’s Day.
Mr James has been a part of the Piping at Forres team from its inception in 2012 before taking a year out to concentrate on his business interests at AJ Engineering. He returned as a director of Forres Events in November last year.
One of his first tasks as chairman was to welcome a renewed deal with local distillers Benromach, who backed the event through its first three years – and are now on board again for the next three.
Mr James said: “We are delighted to have Benromach back on board for a further three years.
“Whilst the event is principally about the best in piping in Europe, to be a continual success we have to bring in new ideas and to have something for everyone – such as the World Tattie Scone championship, the craft and food stalls and funfairs and other entertainment for youngsters.
“To do all of that takes support and of course funding and we have been fortunate in the past to have many local companies who have supported us and to whom we are extremely grateful.
“We will soon be launching this year’s sponsorship package and we hope that all our current sponsors will continue to lend their support – and also that we can attract some new sponsors to help us keep the magic alive and bring in new ideas which will continue to reinvigorate the event and make it the fun, family day it has become.”
Mr James acknowledged that in taking over the lead role he had a very hard act to follow: “Ian Widdowson left some fairly large shoes to fill, but Ian was always keen that the Piping At Forres event would be a blueprint for all to follow and this year’s event will be a testament to his and to David Urquhart’s legacy.”
The Benromach sponsorship will be worth around £1.3million for the local area – the equivalent of 25 full-time jobs. Ewen Mackintosh, who is the chief operating officer at Benromach owners Gordon & MacPhail, commented: “This award-winning event has been a huge success and has helped put Forres on the map.
“As owners of Forres’ distillery we are pleased to continue our sponsorship. The event has proved to be of real benefit to the local community, bringing visitors to the area and offering a great day.”