It’s 16 years on top of the world for George

Ballinderry man George Ussher, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s longest serving president, has for 16 years helped shape the World Pipe Band Championships.

George Ussher (President of Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association) pictured at the World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green on Saturday 15th August.

George has been involved in organising and running the Championships in Glasgow since 1999, 12 years after joining Ballydonaghy Pipe Band as a drummer.

Initially, for some years, he had been a member of Ballinderry Accordion Band,

In 1990 George was appointed Drum Major Steward with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Northern Ireland Branch and in 1994 he became Vice-Chairman.

In 1999 he was appointed Vice-Chairman of the RSPBA in Glasgow and first became involved in the organisation of the World Pipe Band Championships, held annually at Glasgow Green.

George became RSPBA Chairman in 2000 and in 2003 he was appointed to the top World Pipe Band post - RSPBA president

Even with his many pipe band duties though, George is proud to say he is first and foremost a farmer.

“I could be ploughing fields tomorrow,” he said, “and the next day I could be attending a pipe band championship or meetings with councils and possible sponsors to negotiate funding for pipe band events”.

Born in July 1948, son of the late Arthur and Kathleen Ussher, George now lives on the family farm at Temple Road, Ballinderry, bought by his great-grandfather from Sir William Wallace in 1867 and now a listed building.

As a young boy, George attended Upper Ballinderry Primary School, progressing to Lisburn Technical College and later gaining a Bachelor of Science degree through the Open University.

He served a five-year (1963 to 1968) Engineering apprenticeship at Bridgeport Brass Ltd, subsequently working as a fitter in the maintenance department.

George left Bridgeport in 1973 and took up the position of engineer and energy manager at Belfast International Airport. In 2000 he moved to Ulster Carpet Mills in Craigavon and retired in 2013.

When not pursuing his favourite pastime - looking after his two young grandsons, who live next door - he now runs a herd of Aberdeen Angus suckler cows, breeds sport horses and grows around 30 acres of cereal crops.

“I count myself very fortunate to be able to have such an enjoyable job,” he said of his diverse roles.