Locals urged to learn bagpipes

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A group of Co Tyrone musicians are encouraging young people to start playing the bagpipes.

Kerry Patterson, 18, and her team are challenging misconceptions that bagpipes are only played by the older generation.

Kerry and her team are concerned that one of Northern Ireland’s most popular forms of musical expression is being lost because youngsters no longer find it appealing or think it’s reserved for older generations.

With Fixers – the charity which gives young people a voice - the youngsters have made a film challenging misconceptions that the hobby is for the older generation.

Kerry, from Ballygawley, has been piping for six years- having represented the Ulster Scots Juvenile Pipe Band in that time, and says the experience has changed her life.

“I fell in love with the sound and it’s allowed me to become more confident and meet new people along the way,” she said. “Generally, when you think of bagpipes, you imagine an old man with a ginger beard, so maybe young people shy away for this reason.

“We want to show that pipe bands are inclusive regardless of gender or age. It would be a real shame if we lost this discipline, which means so much to so many.

“These days young people are more into social media and the lives of celebrities, but I think we need to make bagpipes cool again.”