Today I was saddened to read of the passing of John Hunter. John was a true legend of the Perth Highland Pipe Band, President of the PHPB for 20 years and granted life membership when he retired in 2000, just as I was leaving Western Australia.
There are many top blokes in the short lifetime I spent in Australia, and whom I remember with great fondness and respect. John was among the toppest. A truly classy and decent gent, always ready with a kind word and good humour.
Also he talked me and another bandmate past the bouncers and into a fancy Perth nightclub to celebrate the PHPB’s 50th anniversary when we were seventeen and had no ID, using nothing but pure diplomacy and the absolute choicest quality bulldust. Maybe not the most legal move, but one which spoke to a higher morality.
When I was later shamed into confessing to him that we were not in fact over the age of eighteen at the time, he said with a twinkle, “you know, I had a feeling you weren’t, but you lads were members of the band and you deserved to come and celebrate with us. The important thing is that you had a top night.”
Thank you for your service and your friendship, sir. The world is a darker place for your light going out – but you showed many, many people how to carry a lantern.