Sponsorship & Award Feedback

The following feedback was received from those who received a sponsorship award from the Trust.  If you’re interested in sponsorship, please find out how to get funded.  Our sub-group carefully considers all submissions.

Katie Robertson

Thanks to the Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust, I have been able to continue tuition with Dan Nevans. Piping is my life and gets me through all the challenges I face on a daily basis. Dan’s guidance has been invaluable in my progression as a musician.

After I got the flu in December 2022, I was faced with more health problems than my preexisting complex chronic pain, arthritis and other chronic health conditions. Throughout 2023 I developed severe gastrointestinal symptoms that by September caused me to be unable to eat anything and be fed solely with a feeding tube. I spent 6 weeks in hospital unable to play the pipes or do much else, and just recently I spent another week after getting even worse again in December. My future has so many uncertainties and I’m reaching the bottom of the treatment barrel.

The one thing that has made me stay positive is my piping. Music is more than a hobby to me, it’s my best medicine. Although I haven’t been able to play the bagpipes as much as I would like and have taken breaks that have felt like eternities, I’ve been able to continue lessons online with Dan. Even if it’s just digital pipes or the practice chanter, as long as I continue to play I have one constant glimmer of hope in my life.

Improvement is so important for me. I may be limited in what I can do and that’s outwith my control, but I can manage to play and I will hone it to perfection – no matter how long that journey takes or what’s ahead of me. I have come on leaps and bounds since I started tuition with Dan, achieving infinitely more than I ever could have imagined. Some of my highlights include playing in the Usher Hall twice, once with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and again with The Scottish Fiddle Orchestra. I also will never forget the night I got to play with my inspirations Ross Ainslie and Tim Edey in Dunning, or when I recorded some Gordon Duncan tunes with Ross at Tpot Studio a few weeks later. In August I attended the legendary festival Piping Live!, playing in a range of styles from leading the Big Band to Pipe Idol and then a couple of sessions.

Gordon’s music is hugely influential in my piping. I’m so glad to be able to play his tunes and remember his legacy. I hope to write more of my own music in the near future too. Thank you so much GDMT for making this possible.

Submitted by:Katie Robertson
Year of Award:2023

Trail West – Live Act of the Year

Trail West

In 2023 the GDMT sponsored the “Live Act of the Year” at the 21st MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards, and the worthy winners were Trail West. Trail West started as a four piece ceilidh band about ten years ago and have grown to become a formidable live band.

Year of Award:2023

Isle of Arran Music School

The Gordon Duncan Memorial Trust has been a huge part of the Arran Music School journey so far. Not only have there support financially been a huge benefit to the charity but so has the their advice. Their help was great for our first ever pipe band concert which we have organised this year where we received help from the Trust to run the concert.

Gordon Duncan has been a huge influence to the music school himself with a lot of our inspiration of tunes we play and set we pick are based off him and his legacy.

We thank everyone at the trust for their continued support at the music school.

Submitted by:Tam Barnes
Year of Award:2023

Hands Up for Trad 2023

A thank you for sponsorship of the Scots Trad Music Awards 2023.

Trad Awards

Year of Award:2023

Niel Gow, Nathaniel Gow & Simon Fraser of Knockie original books restoration.

Many thanks to you all for helping to restore, preserve and bind these original music collections from the Regency era – two collections of Niel and Nathaniel Gow books, and a Simon Fraser of Knockie Collection. All were in a sorry state, crumbling and impossible to use without risk of further damage.

We started with a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the project, and the GDMT kindly helped with the remaining costs. Each page was individually cleaned and repaired, before being bound into three volumes.

These books are a significant part of our Scottish cultural heritage, and the grant from GDMT enabled us to save them for future generations. If you would like to view the books, feature them in your event, or just find out more, please visit

Music Collections

or contact Lovaig.Music@gmail.com.

Big thanks again and best wishes to you all,
Katherine Liley

Submitted by:Katherine Liley
Year of Award:2023