Massive pipe band send-off planned for bus crash victim's funeral

Members of Ottawa pipe bands are coming together to pay tribute to Judy Booth, one of the victims of Friday’s bus crash at Westboro station.

Several groups plan to honour longtime volunteer Judy Booth

Judy Booth, 57, was one of three people killed in a tragic bus crash Friday afternoon. She played with several pipe and drum bands in Ottawa over the years. (RCMP Pipes and Drums National Division)

Members of Ottawa pipe bands are coming together to pay tribute to one of the victims of Friday's bus crash at Westboro station.

Judy Booth, 57, was one of three people killed, along with Bruce Thomlinson and Anja Van Beek, when a double decker bus slammed into the shelter on the Transitway during the Friday afternoon commute.

Booth was retired, but still worked occasionally for the  Access to Information and Privacy office at the National Capital Commission, where she was Friday before getting on the Route 269 bus.

But her passions lay in helping organize the North Lanark Highland Games in Almonte, Ont., and playing in several pipe and drum bands across the region.

Got into drumming

Booth met her husband, Ches Booth, as part of the highland and pipe band community.

She learned to play the tenor drum later in life and played for four Ottawa groups before she died.

Judy Booth and her husband Ches Booth. Both were heavily involved in pipe bands and highland games in the Ottawa region. (RCMP Pipes and Drums National Division)

"She was just one of those wonderful, warm people," said Brad Hampson, the drum major for the RCMP Pipes and Drums National Division where Booth played for several years.

He is also a former staff sergant with the Ottawa police and a former collisions investigator with the OPP.

Booth loved everything about the pipe band life, from the music to the friends she made, and probably would have played for every pipe band in Ottawa if she could, he said.

He added the news of her death hit the pipe band community hard.

Booth had several friends who played drums and pipes across the region.

Performance to pay tribute

She was also heavily involved in her community.

Now, that community hopes to give back to her family by organizing a send-off for her funeral on Saturday.

Four pipe bands, including the Sons of Scotland, the Ottawa Police Service, the RCMP and the Ottawa Highlanders plan to come together to perform at her funeral.

"I think just showing the family that we want to come out and do this tribute for her on Saturday will hopefully mean something to them," Hampson said.

Brad Hampson, member of the RCMP Pipes and Drums National Division, says Judy Booth will be remembered fondly. 0:54

Pipe bands typically play at funerals to honour fallen servicepeople, such as police and firefighters.

But the bands also want to honour one of their own.

Hampson believes it's a send-off she would have wanted and he hopes to play her favorite tune Itchy Fingers on the pipes.

Other victim's funeral planned 

Booth's close friends from work are also feeling her loss.

Daniel Mongeon worked with her at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for several years and they stayed in touch.

He'll remember her as his "work mom," someone who always took care of others.

Judy Booth remembered fondly by longtime friend 0:38

"She always made sure that her employees were OK to work and it made us feel better about coming to work," he said.

Booth's funeral will be held on Saturday afternoon in Almonte.

A service has also been arranged for Bruce Thomlinson on Jan. 18.

There is no word yet on funeral arrangements for Anja Van Beek.

The CBC's Hallie Cotnam met with one of Judy's colleagues who worked alongside her for many years in downtown Ottawa. 5:50