PIPE bands from across Scotland and the north of England will make their way to the Borders next weekend to compete in an annual championship.

The Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships will be held in Victoria Park on Saturday, June 1.

Allan Johnston, of St Ronan’s Piping Society, said: “This year is a very special year in the history of the society, it being the 21st anniversary of the holding of our contest and it seems that the bands are coming out in force to support us, with well over 30 performances on the day from no less than 15 of the best bands in the region.

“Our contest goes from strength to strength and again in our 21st year of holding is well supported by local businesses, individuals, and our loyal patrons.

“This allows us to support our local pipe band with instruments, uniform and equipment and our local Pipe Band Hall, which is a valuable community asset.

“At the contest there will be performances to suit everyone, from Marches to MSR.

“The competition will be fierce, and the piping will be first class, an event not to miss.

“Let the Battle of the Bands commence.”

And leading this year’s events as Chieftain will be community councillor Jackie Couchman.

Born in Gateshead, Ms Couchman moved to Innerleithen in 2005 with her family.

She has embraced her retirement by taking up a wide range of hobbies including travel, belly dancing, Scottish country dancing, motorcycling, theatre and music.

She said: “I am immensely proud of our wee town and greatly honoured to be chosen as Chieftain of the 21st anniversary contest, I am looking forward to a great day of music making and spectacle.”

Joining the celebrations will be snack bars, local firm Caldwell’s Ice Cream, a face painter and refreshments from Innerleithen’s own Durty Brewing.

Mr Johnston said: “Jackie will take over the Chain of Office from the 2023 Chieftain Stewart Wilson within Victoria Park about 10.45am on Saturday, June 1.

“Jackie will take the salute from the massed bands at 4.30pm and (weather permitting) will around 5.15pm be saluted by the participating massed bands as they parade from Leithen Road along the High Street and into Hall Street where they will fall out.”

Entry to the Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships costs £3 per person, £2 for concessions, and children under 16 go free.

Parking will be available at £3 per car.