International piper hits the high note at Odell Burns Night supper

Mathew McKelvie's bagpip playing is in demand across Europe
Mathew McKelvie's bagpip playing is in demand across Europe

An acclaimed bagpiper was flown in for a Burns Night supper celebration in Odell on Saturday, days after playing to a sold out stadium in Germany.

Mathew McKelvie, 48, is based in Leipzig and serves a high demand across Europe for professional Scottish pipers, playing to a capacity crowd of 5,500 in Chenmitz, Germany on Wednesday night.

This is his second year performing at Odell’s Burns Night after the previous resident piper passed away.

Les Knowles has been successfully organising the event for well over a decade and was tasked with finding a replacement within just two months.

Mr McKelvie first became involved through a relative who lives in the village who suggested he take over the role.

He said: “It all seemed a little unlikely and at first I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the atmosphere was super with the way the crowd embraced the spirit of the event.

“[Burns Night] is quite a significant event as Scots and non-Scots alike have a huge affection for Robert Burns’ work.

“It’s worth remembering that in the four corners of the earth people have enjoyed a similar ceremony this January, so the Odell’s Burns night was a fitting celebration of this international event.”

The event recorded its most successful year to date and raised more than £1,200, with profits going to local charities and services.