Pipe Major John Wakefield (1932 - 2015)
All of us at the Scottish Studies Foundation were saddened to hear of the passing of our good friend, Pipe Major John Wakefield, on Saturday September 5, 2015.
John was a great supporter of the Foundation and was our piper of choice at all of our events going back many years.
A piper since the age of ten, it was his father — a drummer in a pipe band — who introduced John to the bagpipes who, as a young pupil, described himself soaking up the pipes, "like a sponge."
During the 1960s, the 1970s and into the 1980s, John led the pipe band of The Toronto Scottish Regiment (The Queen Mother's Own).
As Pipe Major, John was the personal piper to the Queen Mother and during her royal visits, he would play for her each morning outside the private residences where she stayed, as well as at public events attended by the Queen Mum. He counts playing at her 80th birthday celebrations in London, England as one of the highlights of his career.
John was proud to have recorded the pipes in Toronto's historic St. Andrew's Church and in Roy Thompson Hall and was so glad that the tradition of piping in Canada was strong and growing stronger.
John was a regular at Ontario Highland games, convocation ceremonies, weddings and even bar mitzvahs and was the recipient of several honours, including the Order of Military Merit; the military equivalent to the Order of Canada. In recent years he was appointed personal piper to The Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
The Scottish Studies Foundation extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to John's family and the many friends he made in his lifetime, in Canada and overseas. He will be sorely missed.