In Memory of George Murdoch
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CARRICK has lost one of her best known pipers and a much respected man with the death of George Murdoch. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him, and his talent for teaching will be especially missed by many young pipers. George (75) was well known in local schools for his help at Burns Suppers and other special occasions - and he played at many a local wedding and funeral. Visitors to the area were always keen to be photographed with him, especially if they could 'borrow' his busby. And many of them sent copies of their snaps back to him from all over the world. Sadly, the pipes sounded a lament at George's funeral - played by Kevin McDermott, Pipe Sergeant of Maybole Pipe Band, in a poignant farewell to a much loved and weel kent man. George was born in Ballantrae, but his family moved to Girvan when he was two. His early education was at the now-demolished Douneburn Primary School, where he was Dux in 1938. George left Girvan High School at 14, and worked as a butcher's boy in wartime Girvan. His father drove a milk lorry and George would help him at weekends - cherishing the ambition of becoming a driver himself. He fulfilled this aim, and George's working life included being a bus driver and driving for haulage contractors McKechnie Motors. He moved on to work for McGill Bros for the next forty years, and finally for William Pitt and Sons of Girvan until he retired in 1992.

George developed his interest in piping in boyhood, as a Scout. And when he was called up for National Service in 1946, he joined the Royal Scots Fusiliers as a piper, based in Edinburgh. He played at the very first Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and also at Balmoral for the then Queen Elizabeth, mother of the present Queen. Soon after he was demobbed in 1948, George became a founder member of the Girvan British Legion Pipe Band, and was pipe major from its earliest days until it folded in 1992. He was also fond of dancing - and that led to meeting a Maybole girl at a dance in Kirkoswald. George and Margaret were married in 1950 in the West Church by the Rev A. Williamson and they set up home in Maybole. The year 1992 could have been a difficult one for him - retiring from work and with his beloved pipe band having to fold. Instead, he seemed to get a new lease of life, joining Maybole Pipe Band, Carrick Speakers Club, taking up line dancing, and discovering the joys of going on holiday with wife Margaret after so many years of hard work. His funeral service, in the church he was married in, was taken by Mr William Fielding who told mourners: "George lived a full life. He was known far and wide for his piping and was always in demand to play. Lorries and bagpipes were his favourite hobbies, but his first love was his wife Margaret and their family." George is survived by his wife Margaret, son Jimmy, daughter Margaret, seven grandchildren and a great grandson. They will have been comforted by the large number of mourners who attended the services to pay their last respects. (Ayrshire Post July 11th 2003)


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