Rona, Champion Piper

Clansfolk who went to Milton, South Uist in 1954 when Lord Macdonald unveiled the cairn to the memory of Flora Macdonald, will recall the little girl piper Rona MacDonald.

Today Rona MacDonald, now Mrs A. Lightfoot, wife of a chief officer in the Merchant Navy and mother of a five-year-old boy, is still casting spells with her fingering of the chanter.

In the piping competition for the Flora MacDonald Cup held recently at Daliburgh, South Uist, she retained the cup by winning the March, Strathspey and Reel with a second in both the Piobaireachd and Jig – an overall lead of three points.

According to the Oban Times, in the March, Strathspey and Reel, Rona MacDonald’s playing was described as a spellbinding performance to an appreciative audience of music critics mostly composed of pipers of yester-year. At the South Uist Highland Games last year Rona won the John Steele Memorial Cup (March, Strathspey and Reel) in competition with a dozen notable pipers from the mainland.

On Rona has descended the mantle of the famous MacDonald pipers of South Uist. Her father, Mr Archie MacDonald, Garrahelia, a well-known piper, was a pupil of the late John MacDonald, Inverness. He served as a piper in the Camerons in the First World War. Three of his brothers were pipers in the Army. Rona’s brothers Neil and Ronald are pipers. John and Roderick MacDonald, notable pipers, are cousins.

On her mother’s side Rona inherits the skill of a Campbell line of pipers in South Uist.