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About Sir Jimmy Shand

About Sir Jimmy Shand

Born in East Wemyss in Fife, on January 28th, 1908, Jimmy Shand was the 6th of nine children born to Erskine and Mary Shand.  His father and brother both played the melodeon and this musical background evidently encouraged Jimmy's musical  development from a very early age.

At 14 years old he left school and went to work in the local coal mines but after the General Strike in 1926 he changed jobs to work for Fife Power Company.

In 1932,attracted by the display in J T Forbes music shop  in Dundee, Jimmy went in to try one of the instruments and ended up being offered a job. He later admitted that one of the main attractions of the job was the chance to drive the shop's Ford van!

This typified Jimmy's love of cars and motorbikes.

The job marked a turning point in Jimmy's career as it was the proprietor of J T Forbes who arranged Jimmy's first recording session and in 1935 he got his first recording contract with Beltona records.

A year later, in 1936, Jimmy married Anne Anderson from Colinsburgh and the following year Jimmy Jnr was born.

With the advent of the Second World War Jimmy was found to be medically unfit for the Armed Services and so he went into the Fire Service instead.

During the war he continued to play in a small dance band and in 1940 formed his own band.

On New Year's Day 1945 the band made its first radio broadcast and after the war Jimmy and the band went on to make many more radio broadcasts and to make records which sold millions all  over the world. The band also travelled extensively receiving rapturous wlecomes in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many other countries.

In 1955 the "Bluebell Polka" reached number 20 in the charts and the band appeared on BBC's "Top of the Pops", the only Scottish country dance band to ever do so.

By this time Jimmy Shand was well  known through his numerous TV and radio  appearances and in 1978 Eamonn Andrews presented him with the famous red book on "This Is Your life".

In 1972 Jimmy's son David was suffering from ill-health and his doctor advised a move to the country so Jimmy retired to his home in Auchtermuchty, Fife, where he became known as "The Laird of Auchtermuchty".

Even today, the name Auchtermuchty is synonymous with "Jimmy Shand".

His professionalism and musicianship were recognised during his lifetime with many honours including an MBE, an honorary MA from Dundee University and finally a knighthood when he became Sir Jimmy Shand.

In East Wemyss, the town of his birth, a street was named after him.

After his death on 23rd December 2000 at the age of 92 a bronze sculpture was erected in his honour in Auchtermuchty,  the town where he had made his home.
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