Scots busker teaches teen with chronic pain how to play bagpipes – and has her out performing 11 weeks later

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A SCOTS busker taught a teenager with chronic pain to play the bagpipes – and was out busking with her just 11 weeks later. 

Liam Eaton took Katie Robertson, 14, under his wing after a chance encounter whilst he was busking in Dundee

Katie, from Carnoustie, Angus, is a full time wheelchair user due to suffering from scoliosis which causes the spine to curve.

The youngster is due to undergo back surgery in three weeks but was determined to move from playing chanter to the pipes before her year-long recovery began.

Liam, 23, managed to find a set of bagpipes for Katie and has been teaching her for the last 11 weeks. 

A heartwarming video shows Katie and Liam playing together outside the Overgate Shopping Centre in Dundee on Wednesday. 

The pair can be heard playing Scotland the Brave, Rowan Tree, Highland Cathedral and more during their amazing street performance. 

A crowd gathers to listen to the bagpiping buskers and they are seen getting several donations into a bagpipe case. 

Speaking today, Katie’s mum Jane, 45, said: “Katie was learning chanter at school. 

“She has to use different fingers and adapt her own way, so it was amazing that she even got that far. 

“She has no use of her top finger on her right hand so she plays with her hands the other way round.

“When she was ready to progress to pipes, Covid came and there were no wind instruments at school. 

“She found out in December last year she would need back surgery, and that it would take around a year to recover. 

“We were shopping in Dundee and we saw Liam busking. Katie asked him to play a tune she’d be learning on the chanter. 

Katie Robertson and Liam Eaton - Scottish News
Katie and Liam busked in Dundee City Centre on Wednesday.                                                                (C) Jane Robertson

“We told Liam the story and he said he would find a set of bagpipes for her. 

“Three days later he said he’d found pipes for her. 

“He travelled a long way to get them as well.

“She was determined to busk with him, and Liam said he’d get her busking with him sometime. 

“It just makes me so proud.”

Jane added: “Highland Cathedral is my favourite tune so Katie’s wish was to play it on the bagpipes for me because she knows I cry every time I hear it.

“They played it in Dundee and I was in floods of tears.

“She’s in pain every day. I wouldn’t be brave enough to do it but she just loves to perform!” 

Speaking today, Dundee local Liam said: “Back in May she was telling me about how the school lessons weren’t letting her progress onto the pipes until after the summer and how it was her dream to get onto pipes before her operation. 

“I said I’d keep an eye out for any sets of pipes that I chanced upon and I found a set a couple of days later.

“I set them up and showed her how to look after them and she asked if I would teach her more regularly.

Katie Robertson - Scottish News
Katie has been learning the pipes for 11 weeks having already played the chanter.                                  (C) Jane Robertson

“In the 11 weeks I have been teaching her, she has progressed so quickly.

“She has this inspiring passion to play the pipes and it’s amazing.

“Her enthusiasm and drive to play is more than mine ever was.

“I’m inspired to try harder and practice more!

“The lessons have been so much fun and we always have a good laugh.

“Her musical ability is amazing and she picks up the tunes and techniques so quickly.

“Teaching her is so easy because her passion to play outweighs anything.

“Just yesterday she took part in the Royal National Mod – one of the most prestigious competitions in our world!”

Jane posted a video of Katie and Liam performing on Facebook on Wednesday, writing: “11 weeks ago Katie met Liam Eaton Music in Dundee busking, he offered to help her find and learn the bagpipes.

“Today she was out busking with him, and loved every minute of it.”

Social media users have commented praising Katie for her performance.

Holly Robertson said: “That is fantastic Katie! Another great achievement! Well done!”

Lynsey Smiles said: “Well done super star. Love your outfit too.”

And Denise Williamson added: “I have goosebumps and tears. That’s incredible.”