Lympstone piper entertains villagers

RESIDENTS in Lympstone regularly notice people using the estuary for kayaking or walking their dog – the last thing they would expect to see is a bagpipe player. But, thanks to John Goss-Custard, of Church Road, the distinctive sound emitted from the inst

RESIDENTS in Lympstone regularly notice people using the estuary for kayaking or walking their dog - the last thing they would expect to see is a bagpipe player.

But, thanks to John Goss-Custard, of Church Road, the distinctive sound emitted from the instrument usually heard in Scotland, often resonates through the village.

After deciding to learn how to play more than seven years ago, the 67-year-old said he would frequently practice on Lympstone's estuary beach.

John said: "When I moved to the village I was still learning how to play the pipes themselves.


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"Learning the notes on the chanter is one thing but how to control the pipes so you can play easily and in a relaxed manner, expressing yourself more with the music, can take a long time.

"I didn't like practicing in my house because it's quite loud and can damage your ears."

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John joked: "I would go down to the beach and stand on the shore and people on their boats would hear me and wonder what the sound was.

"When I go down there, the village is shielded from my struggling attempts!

A video of John playing, entitled The Lympstone Piper, can be viewed on The Exmouth Journal and YouTube websites.

He added: "I first heard the bagpipes when I was at an officers' training-core camp in Scotland in the 1960s. I thought to myself 'what a fantastic sound.'

"I was woken up in my first day by the sound of a guy playing the Green Hills of Tyrol."

John said he previously lived in Topsham and would regularly watch the town's carnival when the City of Exeter Pipes and Drums performed - a band he is now part of.

"I used to always make sure I was there that night.

"When I retired, I went to the carnival once again and then to a pub afterwards where they would hang out.

"I asked someone if I could learn and was pointed in the direction of the pipe major. He told me I would be playing in the band in two years time and he was right."

John, who likes to dress in Scottish kilts whenever he performs as part of the Exeter band, said it was hard work to learn how to play the bagpipes.

"I hadn't played an instrument for about 40 years, but because I was retired when I took up the pipes I could spend a number of hours each day practising."

For more information on The City of Exeter Pipes and Drums, visit their website at:

www.city-of-exeter-pipes-and-drums.org/

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