STRIKE UP THE BAND: Drum major Henry “Scottie” Wilson will lead the Ballina Pipe Band on Anzac Day.
STRIKE UP THE BAND: Drum major Henry “Scottie” Wilson will lead the Ballina Pipe Band on Anzac Day. GRAHAM BROADHEAD

Pipes calling for Henry

BALLINA'S Henry Wilson will be a proud man on Anzac Day.

At the age of 90, the Second World War veteran better known as "Scottie" will be the drum major leading the Ballina Pipe Band along River St in the Ballina Anzac Day parade.

Scottie, who originally comes from a village near Kilmarnock in Scotland, was instrumental in the push to form the pipe band when he was president of the Richmond River Scottish Society back in the 1980s.

And he has led the band in every Anzac Day march the band has taken part in Alstonville and Ballina since 1989.

Time has wearied Scottie's legs, so he won't be able to participate in the Alstonville march this year, but he is ready to go for the Ballina parade.

"When I hear the pipes, it lifts me," he said with an accent that has mellowed with time.

"I'm proud of the pipe band - it's part of my life. I hear the pipes playing and it reminds me of home."

Scottie served in the 12th Parachute Regiment with the British Army during the war, a unit which was dropped behind enemy lines during the D-Day landings in June 1944.

He said he was proud of the children who head along each year to the Anzac Day parades for keeping up the tradition. He and wife Betty live in RSL LifeCare's Florence Price Gardens wing at the Ex-Services Home. Another member of the pipe band will accompany Scottie with a wheelchair if the parade proves too much."

I'll be right," Scottie said. "And I hope I'll be right for next year, too."

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