Pipers farewell band stalwart
Pipers from throughout New Zealand turned out yesterday for the last calling of City of Hastings Pipe Band stalwart Jim Tweedie, who died as the band’s 50th anniversary was about to begin on Friday.
Mr Tweedie, who died in Cranford Hospice eight days short of his 71st birthday, was the sole survivor from the first City Of Hastings band which was formed from other bands with which he had also played.
His funeral featured the playing of the difficult pipe number, Jim Tweedie’s Sea Legs, written by Wanganui pipe major John McGhee as Mr Tweedie was about to cross the seas to Britain in 1953.
Mr McGhee had stayed with the Tweedie family during the Hastings Highland Games and Sea Legs, composed to expose Mr Tweedie’s trepidation about his impending voyage, was to become known by pipe bands worldwide, and is played by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
Yesterday it was played to a congregation of more than 600 mourners by former City Of Hastings pipe major Doug Thoresen, who had come from Australia for the funeral.
The funeral, at St Andrew’s where Mr Tweedie had been a session clerk, was followed by a piped escort of the hearse and casket as it departed down Market Street to Prospect Road and left for a private ceremony and cremation.
Mr Tweedie was in his early days at Hastings Boys High School when he took the first formal steps towards keeping up a family heritage – father Bob had come to New Zealand as a youngster from Sorby, Northern Ireland, while mother Flossier [Flossie] had come from Greenoch, Scotland.
Matt Tweedie, one of two younger brothers who also kept up the tradition, said Jim Tweedie first joined the Hastings and Districts Scots Society Band as a tenor drummer, but moved quickly into piping as it became a territorial band, before the establishment of the City of Hastings Pipe Band.
He spent two one-year stints as pipe major in the 1970s, before coming [becoming] an institution in the position from 1978 through to 1994 when the band formally recognised his half-century of service to pipe bands in Hastings.
Mr Tweedie, a career clerk who worked in offices at Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Meat Co at Whakatu, Newman’s Coachlines and Barclay Motors before becoming a purchasing officer at Wattie’s, had suffered an ongoing illness.
He is survived by Mavis (nee Boult), his wife of 43 years.
Photo captions –
HB TODAY PICTURE: WARREN BUCKLAND
SURROUNDED by members of the City Of Hastings Pipe Band, Jim Tweedie’s funeral procession heads along Market Street yesterday.
JIM TWEEDIE, right, receiving a silver plate recognising his 50 years involvement with the band, from former band president Ron Walker, in July, 1994.