Pipe dream a reality for graduation day veteran

KEY FIGURE: Stuart Wood leads last year’s procession through the Lincoln Township to the Lincoln Event Centre.

A key figure in Lincoln University’s graduation history will be marking an important milestone at this year’s event on Friday.

It’s been 20 years since bagpiper Stuart Wood led his first parade of graduating students to their destination in 1998 and he has faithfully returned every year to carry out this duty.

Mr Wood has seen plenty of changes over the past two decades.

The graduation procession now travels 2km from the university through the township to the Lincoln Events Centre but this wasn’t always the case.

“Graduation used to be held in the Christchurch Town Hall. We would start the procession in the city, from the Arts Centre car park on Worcester St (now Worcester Boulevard).

“The event was moved to the Lincoln Township after the September 4, 2010, earthquake.”

Mr Wood has had a keen interest in the bagpipes for as long as he can remember.

“Apparently, I wanted to play them when I was two-and-a-half years old, and I got there eventually. I played in my first Dominion Contest (now called the nationals) in Carisbrook in the 1970s, when I was about 14.”

He said he always enjoys leading the Lincoln procession.

“I really like to do it for the feel-good factor, for me and the public. I think I just phoned the uni one day and asked to lead the procession and that’s how it started.”