Gretna Green piper celebrates 60th year at Scotland's wedding mecca

Celebrating his 60th year of piping at Gretna Green, Alan Marshall’s melodies have charmed generations of visitors and wedding couples from around the globe.

And he’s thrilled that he is still able to keep a family legacy alive at the world famous Blacksmith’s Shop Centre with the skirl o’the pipes in his blood.

An iconic figure at the tourist and wedding destination, his face, pipes and smart regalia have made their way onto thousands of holiday snaps and wedding albums over six decades – not to mention in videos and on smart phone selfies too.

He said that his “celebrity” journey began with a childhood admiration for his older brother, Billy’s, piping skills.

In 1999, Alan took over the reins after long-time Gretna Green piper Billy’s passing, ensuring that the tradition continued.

He said: “Billy taught me everything. I just learned by looking at his fingers.

“I don’t read music. I just played by ear and Billy taught me all the little tunes.”

John Holliday, chairman of Gretna Green, speaks with admiration of Alan’s milestone: “Celebrating 60 years with Alan is incredible. He’s not just a piper; he’s a cherished part of our team here at Gretna Green.

“His music brings smiles to everyone he meets.”

Reflecting on his 60-year milestone, Alan said: “It’s been a lifetime really. It means a lot to me – a lot of happy memories.

“I have said it before, there’s not another job like it, really. I’ve had some great times, met some good friends.

“And the people that come back for an anniversary after five years or 10 years are surprised and delighted that I am still here.

“When I see the couples coming back I’m quite delighted too because there’s something about this place that draws people back, whether it’s the charm or the history.”