A tribute to James McCall, Carluke (1924-2014)

Proud Scot...and bagpipe player, James McCall, of Carluke, who died on Monday, April 14, 2014 (Submitted pic)
Proud Scot...and bagpipe player, James McCall, of Carluke, who died on Monday, April 14, 2014 (Submitted pic)

JAMES McCall, who died on Monday, would like to be remembered as a piper.

By profession he was a design engineer, working for many years on state-of-the-art projects with Honeywell.

But, away from work, the bagpipes were his great love.

He turned 90 in February and no longer had the puff to inflate the bag but he still taught the chanter and was ready to entertain with an electronic set of pipes.

Jim moved in 1980 from Motherwell to Carluke, where his late wife Jean was head of business studies at the High School, and developed a great love of the town.

He had learned to play the pipes as a child in a Boys Brigade band and in later years had turned out with Dalzell Steelworks band.

Living in Carluke, he played with bands in Law and Forth and eventually Vale of Clyde, loving the seasons of galas, competitions and Cowal Games, as well as the annual Burns Suppers.

However, he was also in demand as a solo piper.

For a period he was the piper on call for Lee Castle, summoned by the Baron when he was entertaining guests there, and he was always delighted to play for weddings, golden weddings, parties, funerals and ceilidhs.

A keen dancer, he for years was a regular playing the pipes at both Lanark and Carluke Highlanders’ ceilidhs.

He loved all things Scottish and was still learning Gaelic up to his last week.

In the early 1980s he was chairman of Carluke’s Highland Games committee before it went the way of so many other sporting events.

Fit, still driving and able to walk around Lanark Loch in the week before his death, Jim retained a keen interest in life, being a past president and active member of Carluke Probus Club and an elder (retired) in St John’s Church.

The church had a 90th birthday tea for him and a fellow nonagenarian last month. Jim’s funeral service takes place there this Thursday at 1.45pm.

Jim is survived by his children, Helen and George, and his two grand-daughters.