OVER 10 000 visitors are expected to attend the 53rd Highland gathering which will be held at Hutchison Park in Amanzimtoti on Saturday, April 28 from 8 am until 5 pm.Organised by the Toti Lions and supported by Sapphire Coast Tourism, this year’s family-friendly festival and fund-raiser welcomes international judge, Paul Brown, to adjudicate the 30 pipe bands performing on the day. Member of Toti Lions, Carol Botha said that they are extremely excited to have Paul Brown join the 2018 Highland Gathering.“Paul is an established pipe band performer with experience at world championship-level and his wealth of expertise really demonstrates the level of talent set to feature this year,”said Botha.Brown has been playing pipe band drums since the age of seven, starting his career with Ballingry School pipe band under the leadership of Pipe Major, Bob Shepherd MBE. Brown — a resident of Fife, Scotland — went on to win numerous championship titles before progressing to the ranks of Grade 1, aged 13, with the world-famous Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band. He continued to perform throughout his career — winning 13 major Grade 1 drumming titles including a Grade 1 World Championship and “Champion of Champions” title — while also passing on his artistic insights to the many students who studied under him. He is the only Grade 1 drummer in history to hold six Grade 1 all Ireland drumming titles, outside of Ireland, currently a qualified Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Drumming adjudicator, tutor and assessor for the Piping & Drumming Qualification’s Board. This year will see him join a group of adjudicators for the Grade 1 World Championship Qualification heats.Botha said that the entertainment continues in the main beer tent, where 10 local bands will be taking to the stage at various intervals.“Children will be kept entertained in the kids’ arena where KZN inflatables will be providing a variety of jumping castles and other inflatables for a day of bouncy fun! The cost for entrance into this arena is R120 per child for an all-day pass, from 9 am to 4 pm. There will also be a Mr and Miss Highland Gathering contest running throughout the day and more than 160 flea-market stalls featuring a range of products including crafted items and foods. The Horse and Dog Units will also be in attendance, putting on a spectacular performance for audiences. The show finale will be the Mass March Band performance, accompanied by young singing sensation, Keely Crocker.”Romy Wenzel from Sapphire Coast Tourism said: “Visitors get the chance to enjoy a really comprehensive event while also visiting any of the numerous tourist-friendly sites within the Sapphire Coast Region, including gorgeous beaches and nature trails.”All funds raised will be donated to the local community through a number of charitable initiatives including: monthly diabetes testing, food parcels for needy families, funding for glasses and hearing aids, maintenance assistance for the Jona Vaughan Home, exchange programme for a student from a disadvantaged background, sun-shading by the pool for the local school for the deaf and sponsoring library and books for a local school.Tickets will be available at the venue: adults — R50, pensioners or students — R30, children 10 years and over — R10 and children under 5 years enter for fee.