MONTROSE Town Bandmaster Jim Easton was honoured as a local hero at the official opening of the fourth Scottish Parliamentary session on Friday.
He was nominated by North East Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes and Montrose councillor David May.
Following the official opening of the Parliament by Her Majesty The Queen, the Riding of the Parliament took place – a centuries-old Scottish tradition, where some 1,500 prominent Scots, schoolchildren, parliamentarians, religious leaders and other guests from public life walk the Royal Mile. Each MSP was invited to nominate a local hero from their area to join the Riding.
Mr Easton has been involved with the Montrose Town Band for over 60 years, firstly as a band member, and latterly as bandmaster. In that role, he has made a huge difference to the fortunes of the band – from once being on the brink of extinction, thanks to the magnificent efforts and leadership of Jim Easton the band now has a waiting list for new members.
Commenting, Mrs McInnes said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to invite Jim Easton to take part in the Riding of the Parliament at the opening ceremony. When I asked Councillor May for his suggestions for a real local hero, he mentioned Mr Easton straight away, and truly I can’t think of anyone better.
“Both though playing with and now leading Montrose Town Band for over 60 years would be achievement enough, but Mr Easton has done so much more for the local community both in Montrose as well as much further afield. The band has members ranging from ages six to 70, and they perform regularly at local churches, sheltered housing, schools, residential homes and more recently at the very popular Montrose Music Festival.
“Mr Easton gives up a huge amount of his time to make a difference to the lives of so many people in the local community, so I am only too delighted at the chance to honour him as the local hero he is.”
Councillor May said: “Jim certainly deserves this honour and I am delighted that he has been chosen. I have been privileged to hear the Town Band on many occasions over the years, and I am fully aware that individuals like Jim Easton, voluntarily, give up huge amounts of their own time and money, in order to achieve what they do, not only in terms of the very high standard of music that is produced, but making such a difference to the lives of so many young and not so young people.
“Over the years it is hard to tell how many young people have been introduced to music through James Easton and I firmly believe that he fully deserves the nomination, as he has selflessly contributed to our local community, and he is indeed a superb example to all of us of service to the community.”
Mr Easton said: “This is a complete surprise to me and it came out of the blue.
“Though I am personally delighted to be part of such a prestigious event I believe it is also recognition of the role played by and the high quality of performances of our Town Band.”