Canadian pipers part of world-wide memorial for teen bagpiper killed in Manchester concert blast

Two Windsor, Ont. bagpipe groups are playing as part of a worldwide tribute to a 14-year-old piper who was killed at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. last year.

22 people were killed when a homemade bomb went off at an Ariana Grande concert last year

Members of the Scottish Society of Windsor Pipe Band perform in a Memorial Day parade in 2017. Members of the group will be participating in a world-wide tribute to a 14-year-old piper who was killed in a bomb incident at a concert in Manchester, U.K. last year. (Scottish Society of Windsor Pipe Band)

Musicians around the world are playing their pipes this weekend as part of a touching tribute to a teenager killed at a concert — and Canadian pipers are joining in.

A year ago on May 22, a homemade bomb went off at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England — killing 22 people and injuring dozens others. 

One of those victims was 14-year-old bagpiper Eilidh MacLeod. 

"It's hard enough sitting there, listening to the victims of the terrorist attack, especially a bunch of young children and young kids for this stuff, and then something like this comes along. It's something you can do [to help out]," said Brad Way with the Scottish Society of Windsor Pipe Band.

"Really pulls at the heartstrings."

Pipe bands from around the world, including two from Windsor, Ont. will all be playing Amazing Grace in Eilidh's honour. 

Way's group is combining with the Windsor Police Pipe band to play the familiar tune. They've been gathering to practice ahead of their performance Saturday.

"It's one of the ones I do love," said Way, about the choice of song. "It's probably the most requested pipe tune you'll get as a piper."

Windsor, Ont. bagpipers play Amazing Grace as part of a tribute to a teen killed at a concert last year. 0:52

Her first concert

Eilidh, who was from Barra Island in the Hebrides, went to the concert with her friend Laura MacIntyre, 15. The concert tickets were a birthday present for Eilidh; the first concert for both teenagers. They travelled with Eilidh's mother Marion, who was at a hotel waiting to hear from them after the concert ended.

The high school students sent a message saying Grande was performing her final song. Nothing was heard from them for 20 hours, until MacIntyre was found in a Manchester hospital with serious burns.

Facebook photo of Eilidh MacLeod, 14, who was killed in the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017. (Facebook)

Eilidh's family confirmed in a statement to the British press that she had died. 

"Words cannot express how we feel at losing our darling Eilidh," the family said. 

"Eilidh was vivacious and full of fun. She loved all music whether it was listening to Ariana or playing the bagpipes with her pipe band."

Canadians join in tune

Way said that the Manchester Community Pipe Band contacted his group through Facebook last week, and invited them to take part in the event. 

"I think it's pretty cool," said Way. 

Hear more from piper Brad Way on CBC's Windsor Morning:

Pipers from the Scottish Society and the Windsor Police Pipe Band will play their version of Amazing Grace Saturday morning at at Memorial Park in Windsor, Ont. 

A video recording of the performance will be sent to Manchester to be part of a #standtogether memorial in Picadilly Gardens May 20. Organizers say Eilidh's family will be in attendance.


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