SEVERAL decades have passed since he collapsed on stage with sheer exhaustion but Dingwall drummer Peter Angus is still pushing himself to the limits – and has been recognised in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his tireless efforts for the town.
The retired Scottish Water sampler, who has devoted nearly 60 years to the Fire Brigade Community Group which runs the Dingwall Gala, said he got the shock of his life when he opened the letter telling him of his British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to the community.
He said: "When I got the letter I thought it was my invitation to the Garden Party at Holyrood as I’m expecting an invite to attend that. But when the letter was opened I was astounded. I’m really chuffed, I can’t believe it. I don’t know who nominated me."
The grandfather-of-three (71) who was born at the town’s Ross Memorial and grew up on Meiklefield Road with mam Mary, dad John and brother John, who emigrated to Canada, has been a stalwart for Dingwall, helping to raise thousands of pounds in his role as chairman of the Fire Brigade Community Group. He has been on the committee for 54 years.
On Armistice Day it is to him the town turns for the sound system and he is also vice chairman of the Seaforth Highlanders Regimental Association (Ross-shire). He lives at Millcraig Road with wife Jennifer, and has been retired for nine years.
The couple have a daughter called Lorna who lives in Glasgow and three grand-daughters, Morgan (18), Kayla (12) and Nyah (5).
The eldest followed in her grandfather’s musical footsteps and gave him one of his proudest moments when she performed a senior drumming role in the Army Cadets Pipe Band parade last Easter. Mr Angus has always liked playing the drums and performs with Inverness Fiddle and Accordion Group. He was in a handful of bands in his earlier years, latterly touring the UK for three years with The County Jays, and has always given 100 per cent of his energy – and more – to anything he has put his mind to.
He said: "It was hard work. We were playing in Liverpool on a Friday night and then Ardersier the next night. I collapsed thoroughly exhausted on the stage. The doctor advised me to stop it for a while. I never touched the drums for 20-odd years and then I joined the Inverness Fiddle and Accordion Group, that was about a year-and-a-half ago and I’m still with them."
He attended Dingwall Academy and left school at 15 to work in C&J Urquhart Ironmongers before moving onto the Buchan Agricultural Merchants on Strathpeffer Roads. He then threw himself into his drumming career ahead of a 26-year stint with North of Scotland Water Authority which became Scottish Water.
Asked what fuels his drive for helping the town, he said: "I don’t need any motivation. I just enjoy helping the town."