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Updated 05/09/2013


Salute to the Royal Fendersmith
Pipe Major Jimmy M. Banks

A fendersmith is a person employed to clean and repair the metal fenders before fireplaces in mansions, fine estates, or castles. In this archaic profession, the same person is usually also responsible for lighting and keeping the fire contained within the fireplace. Few fendersmiths exist today, but can be found in places like Windsor Castle

Salute to the Royal Fendesmith was written by Jimmy Banks (shown above).  Jimmy joined the Scots Guards in 1964 and served with them until 1987. During this time he rose through the ranks. In 1970 he gained his Pipe Majors certificate at the Army School of Piping at Edinburgh Castle and was awarded the grade – “Outstanding” by the civilian board of examining judges.

He reached the highest level by winning the top light music events at the Argyllshire Gathering, and the Braemar Gathering. In 1979 he was invited to play at the Glenfiddich Piping Championships, the world solo piping championships. These were incredible achievements given the limited time he had to compete as a soloist due to his military commitments at that time.

From 1980-1986 Jimmy served as Pipe Major of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and from 1986-1987 became Pipe Major in charge of the Guards Piping School being responsible for the musical training of all Guards Division pipers.  Also, in 1980 he was appointed Household piper to HM Queen Elizabeth and was required to be in charge of pipers playing at banquets in Buckingham Palace for visiting Heads of State and other formal occasions.

In 1987 he left the Army and worked for Flemings bank for four years as a piper and reception organizer where he stayed until 2001. During this period he was also piper to the Highland Society of London.  It was in 2002 that Jimmy went to work at the National Piping Centre where he was appointed the position of Head of Studies for the BA (Scottish Music- Piping) degree course run in collaboration with the Royal Scottish academy of Music and Drama.