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A Haggis is not a little furry creature who’s inside legs are shorter than it’s outside legs to help it run faster along the steep sided Scottish Glens. It is actually a very old Scottish dish, which combines meats, spices and oatmeal to create a very rich, unusual, but none the less delicious feast. The factual and historic description of Haggis is sometimes off-putting to people who have not tried it. Fortunately, modern techniques in the preparation and presentation of Haggis make it an acceptable delicacy to almost everyone's palate. In fact, its simply delicious. If you haven't tried haggis …..authentic Scottish Haggis… must ! Whilst in Scotland it is not consumed on a daily basis, it does feature regularly on many peoples home menus throughout the year. It makes "guest" appearances on a more formal basis throughout the year, whenever Scottish culture is celebrated. In the olden days the preparation of a Haggis went something like this :- Take the liver, lungs & heart of a sheep and boil them. Mince the meats and mix with chopped onions, toasted oatmeal, salt, pepper, and spices. Take one properly cleaned sheep's stomach. Stuff the stomach with the prepared contents. Sew up the stomach (leaving enough room for expansion to avoid a large messy explosion) and boil. Serve and eat. Lovely ! Okay!, now you've returned from the bathroom, be reassured that modern Haggis prepared in Scotland is not so gruesome. The best meats are selected, (including tripe and offal) and prepared with finest oatmeal and spices…..but served in a synthetic skin which is representative of the old technique. The quality manufacturers of Haggis in Scotland pride themselves in their guarded secret recipes and prepare the Haggis to exacting standards. Haggis has a higher quality of content than your average "sausage"…..and is extremely healthy… please don't be put off! Nowadays, there are even vegetarian versions made from the finest Scottish produce.

Many years ago, according to legend ( or a tall story from Brian Jeffries, who is a tenor drummer with the band, and also likes a drink,) Fanny Sparks, from Scotland had a look round Whalley and decided to stay. An annual event has now developed into a local tradition where the Accrington Pipe Band attend the Burns Night celebrations at the Dog Inn, Whalley. The event has never actually been on Burns Night, it’s usually on the Thursday nearest the 25th of January, but the band marches to the cemetery with “The Rev,” who delivers a wreath to Fanny’s grave. It started off as a lone piper but when they realised there was beer involved, it soon developed into the full band. The celebrations at the pub have become legendary with the piping of the haggis “an ah that.” The low ceilings mean you can’t hear yourself drink. It’s a ticket job if you want the meal so you have to ring the pub to book.

Accrington Pipe Band. Founded in 1885.

Celebrating 125 Years.

The Oldest Civilian Band in the UK.

Probably in the World. 4. Some Mothers Do Ave Em

In 1885 Queen Victoria was on the throne of England, Khartoum was recaptured by the British, all native American Indians were ordered to live in reservations, the motor car was invented and Accrington Pipe Band was formed. The band originally started sometime during 1885 in the Ex-Servicemen’s Club, Abbey Street, Accrington, next door but one from the Arden Inn. This Club was commonly called the Old Vets. In 1904 a piece of local history was recorded on film when The Drill Hall of the St. John Ambulance was opened by General Robert Baden Powell, with a great civic procession in his honour. The band has always struggled financially and is always looking for help and sponsorship. One interesting donation happened in the late 1920s when the band was given some billiard table cloth by E. G. Rileys, the famous billiard table manufacturers of Accrington to make into doublets. These were made up by Stantons tailors of Abbey Street. The band was very smartly dressed but rather outstanding because of the light green colour of the cloth. The band has had it’s challenges over the years as people move into and out of the area for a variety of reasons. Young people move away to college and university, and life today has so many other demands. The commitment and stability required to sustain a band is not easy to achieve, but the band plays on and it is their intention to continue to live and celebrate their history and remain the oldest civilian pipe band in the UK. So any budding pipers and drummers out there who might be interested in becoming the new names in the Band’s history are welcome to get in touch! Or if you are interested in booking the full band or just a single piper please phone Pipe Major Trevor Stokes or Secretary, Val Stokes, on 01254 386123, or come along to the St. John Ambulance HQ on Scaitcliffe Street in Accrington any Tuesday evening from 7.30pm - 9.30pm.



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