COVID-19 - Pipe Major composes "soul stirring" lament in memory of people who have died

A Pipe Major has composed a “haunting” lament in memory of people who have died with COVID-19 on their death certificates.

Craig Herbert said he hoped that “One Hundred Thousand Reasons” would bring peace, comfort and hope to grieving families.

Craig Herbert
Pipe Major Craig Herbert

The 47-year-old from East Kilbride in South Lanarkshire said he felt “called by God” to write the “soul stirring” composition after the UK’s death rate hit 100,000.

Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised almost £33 million for NHS charities by walking laps of his garden, had COVID-19 when he died in hospital this week at the age of 100.

Craig said: “I have played the pipes all my life and I composed this piece to give something back to the wider world.

“I was in bits when I heard on the news that the death toll from COVID-19 had hit this terrible milestone and has since increased.

“I thought to myself ‘this is shocking and horrendous, more people have died of this virus than during the London Blitz in World War Two’.

“I was thinking of all the poor families and friends who were denied a chance to properly say goodbye to their loved ones.”

Craig is the current Pipe Major of East Kilbride Pipe Band and married to Church of Scotland Deacon Claire Herbert DCS, the chaplain at the Lodging House Mission in Glasgow.

The father of four, who has Multiple sclerosis, volunteers for the MS Society and walks and trains puppies for Guide Dogs, said it took him half a day to compose the “Slow Air in Remembrance”.

“It was almost God given that the notes came to me as opposed to my great creativity and that is why I felt called to write the piece,” he explained.

“I hope that it gives hope, peace and comfort to all those who are grieving.”

Heart and soul

Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, minister of Dornoch Cathedral in Sutherland, shared a video of Mr Herbert performing the lament in her daily online reflection video for social media.

She said: “When words are hard to find, other means of expression need to be found.

“Craig has offered us a haunting and hopeful melody to touch heart and soul.”

Official statistics show that 108,000 people with COVID-19 on their death certificates have died across the UK to date and 3.85 million people have been infected with the virus.

There have been 182,269 confirmed cases of the virus in Scotland and 6,269 people have died following a positive test, according to Scottish Government figures.

Craig, who attends Sandyhills Parish Church in Glasgow with his wife, is happy to share his composition free of charge with anyone, people of faith and none, who are organising funerals for loved ones.

He can be contacted on wallacepipers@hotmail.co.uk