Red Hot Chilli Pipers auction for John Hartson charity

Fans of Scots rock’n’roll bagpipers the Red Hot Chilli Pipers have the chance to grab an exclusive set of pipes – and two lessons from one of the best musicians in the business.

Willie Armstrong, co-founder of the hugely successful group, is auctioning off a fantastic set of bagpipes, made by top Glasgow-based manufacturer Wallace, to raise money for ex-Celtic star John Hartson’s testicular cancer charity.

The African blackwood pipes, which have nickel and imitation ivory mounts, are worth hundreds of pounds alone – but the hour-long lessons with the legendary piper are priceless.

The band’s unique brand of ‘bagrock’ has thrilled fans from New York to Beijing and their cover of Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ at the launch of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Glasgow has topped more than one million YouTube hits.

Willie (50) said: “This is a first for us – we never offer lessons. Anyone can bid, from beginners to more experienced pipers – as long as they’re not better than me!”

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers have already supported the John Hartson Foundation at a number of events and Willie – who combines performing with his career as a firefighter – is keen to share its ‘Grab Life by the Balls’ message.

He said: “I think anything we can do to raise awareness of testicular cancer is a great thing. As a firefighter I’ve seen quite a few colleagues go through it and there’s no point in being shy about these things. The earlier any problems are found, the better.”

Bidding for the pipes and lessons will take place during a silent auction at the band’s sold-out Fintry Music Festival gig this Friday, May 16 – but fans without a ticket can put it in an offer through the Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ Facebook page. The deadline is midnight on Friday.

One bid has already been received from America – distance is no object as Willie is happy to give the lessons by Skype or in person if the bidder is closer to home.

He said: “We aim to raise as much as possible for the John Hartson Foundation – we have put a reserve price of £500 on as this prize is worth so much more - so there’s still time to put in a bid and raise money for this fantastic cause.”

For details of how to make a bid please visit the band’s Facebook page or for more information about the John Hartson Foundation visit