IN 1974, Mataura Kilties Pipe Band member Paul Bruce took part in his first Anzac Day service at Balfour.

This year on Anzac Day he was surprised with a cake and the presentation of a silver quaich, a Scottish drinking vessel, to mark the occasion.

He has missed very few Anzac Day services over the years.

Mr Bruce is now a member of the Hokonui Celtic Pipe Band, which was formed after the Mataura Kilties and Gore pipe bands merged in 2014.

He was about 13 when he came to Balfour to play at the Anzac Day service, Mr Bruce said.

‘‘My father [Hugh] played.’’

Playing on Anzac Day was a way of remembering those who served their country, he said.

‘‘It has been a pleasure coming up.’’

Four generations of his family had played at Balfour, with his son Jasper and great-nephew Fletcher Duff (9) also following the family tradition.

He was pleased to have received the quaich and drank some soft drink out of it to celebrate.

‘‘It’s an honour.’’

Bagpipes had been part of his life for as long as he could remember, he said.

‘‘My father used to play them up the passage and I would go to sleep at night with him playing.’’

There was also a social side to playing the bagpipes which he enjoyed.

Hokonui Celtic Pipe Band president Jeff Shanks said he did not know of many pipers who had played for as long as Mr Bruce had.

‘‘It’s quite an achievement, really.’’