Up to 20 Pipe Bands, 400 Musicians, 10 City Centre venues, Grand Parade, Multi-denominational Service for Peace at Manchester Cathedral, Massed Band and Service of Remembrance

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United Pipers for Peace Manchester 2022 is an essential event of our time, with up to 20 pipe bands assembling to remember all the victims of all conflicts, past and present, and adding the sound of the pipes to the growing call for lasting peace. Please come along and join your voice with ours!

Origins of United Pipers for Peace

United Pipers for Peace is an event devised and first staged in 2016 by French pipe band The Samarobriva Pipes & Drums, based in Amiens, France.

The aim was to remember and pay tribute to the fallen of the Great War, not least of all the hundreds of  thousands of young men and women who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme, which had taken place 100 years beforehand, in 1916, in the battlefields of Picardy, to the North and East of Amiens.

The pipes lie in silence at Thiepval Memorial out of respect for the fallen

It may come as a surprise to some that Picardy is very much a land of the Bagpipe! Scottish regiments in particular were led into battle to the sound of the bagpipes, inspiring the troops and instilling fear in the hearts of the enemy. Such was their impact on the German troops, with the swirl of their kilts and bold, defiant sound of the pipes, that the kilted regiments soon became known to their foe as the "Ladies from Hell"!

The local Picard population, thankful to this day for the sacrifice, all too often ultimate, made by so many young men and women from Britain, the Commonwealth, the United States and, indeed, from all over the world, have adopted the pipe band as their own, in recognition of the example set by these Ladies from Hell.

Today, there are no fewer than 10 pipe bands in Picardy alone.

Thiepval Memorial in memory of the fallen of the Somme

Soldiers of the Manchester Regiment fallen in the Somme, their names inscribed for posterity at Thiepval

When will they ever learn...?

As we write these lines, we cannot help but think of the horror, suffering, destruction and death being inflicted at this very moment on the people of Ukraine.

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Ukraine is close to home and we feel the immediacy of this nation's plight. But nor must we forget the numerous conflicts raging throughout this world at war.

"The War to End all Wars", "Peace in our time", "A Europe of lasting peace"... so many expressions and hopes that can at times seem futile in view of current events.

We can feel tempted to give up, to abandon the struggle, to let fear and hatred take the upper hand.

On the contrary, we must be stronger than that!

Our voice, no matter how lowly, how insignificant it may seem, must be heard.

We are not naive. United Pipers for Peace will not put an end to global conflict. Twenty pipe bands will not bring peace to the world.

But the event will bring people together. People of different origins, beliefs, philosophies or cultures.

Many of us in the Fianna Phádraig Pipe Band are a little longer in the tooth than we would care to admit, but one lesson we have all learnt from a lifetime in our beloved institution, travelling throughout Europe and further afield, is that strangers are our future friends, foreigners are our new neighbours, distant cultures are not a threat to us, but rather a gift to embellish our own lives.

So let's, all together, make United Pipers for Peace Manchester 2022 a weekend of friendship, unity, acceptance, inclusiveness, sisterhood and brotherhood!​

And if our example can open just one person's eyes to the benefits of global understanding, then... "Job Done!"

"When the world seems large and complex, we need to remember that great world ideals all begin in some home neighbourhood."

Konrad Adenauer