Fife soldier is first army female in history to be 'Lone Piper'

08-15-2016

To the nearly 9000 strong audience seated at Edinburgh castle at the weekend the piper on the ramparts looked like any other soldier.

Lit up by spotlight against the ancient stone, the small figure stood ramrod straight, tartan sash pulled tight above a weighted kilt, with the jaunty feather of The Scottish Gunners noticeable even in the gathering dark.

The sole focus of thousands of silent watchers, the esplanade fell still as the famous lament 'Sleep Dearie Sleep' echoed out mournfully.

It was a moment that has happened many times before, always by a soldier, but this night was a little different.

This time, Lance Bombardier Megan Beveridge was the one holding the bagpipes - piping her way not just into the crowd's hearts but also into piping history.

Overnight, 21-year-old Megan became the first Regular Army female piper to take on the prestigious role of the Lone Piper at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

Selected by the army's director of Army Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming, Major Steven Small, the role is considered one of the greatest honours and achievements an army piper can hope to achieve.

This is the second time Lance Bombardier Megan Beveridge has made piping history, after she became the first female to pass the very exacting Army Pipe Major's course earlier in her career.

Fifer Megan, from Burntisland, who has been playing the pipes since the age of nine, is also the youngest to have attained the Pipe Major's qualification.

Citing her big sister, Kerry-Ann, who played in The Black Watch Cadets Pipes and Drums, as her inspiration for starting, Megan joined the army at 16 after she left school.

While she isn't the very first woman to be the Lone Piper at the 67-year-old show - Elaine Marnoch, a cadet with Aberdeen University Officer Training Corps played in the Tattoo in the 70s - Megan is the first woman from a Regular Army Pipes and Drums to take on the role.

The position is normally reserved for the infantry and Royal Armoured Corps, parts of the army which will only start accepting women from later this year for the first time.

As far as her ambitions are concerned, Megan hopes to go all the way.

"I hope to get promoted and get my first Pipe Major's appointment and then come and work at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming in Edinburgh, and eventually become the Army's senior Pipe Major," she says.

"Then after that, I hope to be the Sovereign's Piper and work out of Buckingham Palace and travel with the sovereign."

But while she may be the first female army piper to take up the role, Megan sincerely hopes she won't be the last.

"There is another girl in my regiment who is a drummer and I hope she does the same and gets to be a drum major," she says.

"I hope that I've inspired other female pipers to join the army. It's a great job and I'm really pleased to be able to do it."

http://stv.tv/news/features/1364012-fife-soldier-is-first-army-female-in-history-to-be-lone-piper/

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