Paula Braiden is officially world’s best Drum Major
SHE has been a drum major since the tender age of seven, and last weekend she finally struck gold in the adult section.
Paula Braiden, who runs her own school of drum majoring, also had the joy of seeing a pupil take one of the top junior titles - replicating how she won her first title in her days of junior competition.
“I have been a drum major for 22 years, having started at the age of seven. The band scene is something that is definitely in the family, as my brother Darrell, is a drummer for the University of Bedfordshire based in Luton, London,” she said.
Although Paula hails from the Kilfennan area of the Waterside, she is affiliated to the Cullybackey Pipe Band, but when she competes she enters in the drum major events alone.
Even though she enters as a solo competitor and faces stiff competition each time, in the past decade Paula has proved that she is in a class of her own.
There are shelves and cupboards at home groaning under the weight of the silverwear that the young woman has won.
Her skills with a Mace are astounding and she has also taken awards for her marching and her deportment while working with the Mace. To date she has won 15 British and 11 EU, 9 Cowel and 10 Ulsters.
The World Championships at the weekend were at Glasgow Green on August 11, and in the adult section Paula found herself in competition in a field of 32 drum majors. The win on Saturday was her second championship of the season, as she won the Scottish title in May.
In fact, this year she has won the All-Ireland, the Scottish and a number of local events, and in the last 10 years she has been second six times at world level in senior drum major eventing. In the past five years her second place World finishes have been consecutive - making her the person to beat when it comes to drum major competitions.
“This was the tenth year I competed in the senior event and to get the title was well worth the effort,” said Paula, adding: “I am thilled.
“I am still in shock. It has not fully sunk in.”
Her win means she took home the coveted Charles Hepburn Mace, a world medal and a cheque, but to see her pupil, Steven Gilchrist, win in the juvenile section was equally satisfying.
“It was his first world title and I was so pleased because I got my first world title in 1997 in the same championship that my tutor won their world title too,” she said.