Snow Patrol go back to school to inspire next generation

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody with Campbell College pupil George Robinson. Credit: Michael Cooper

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and drummer Jonny Quinn have returned to their old school, Campbell College in east Belfast, inspiring young music students.

The pair were special guests at the college’s annual Speech Day, which comes as Campbell this year marks its 125th anniversary and Snow Patrol celebrate their 25th year.

Snow Patrol's Jonny Quinn meets young pipers and drummers from Campbell College. Credit: Michael Cooper

Over 500 pupils, staff and parents enjoyed the occasion, with Jonny – who developed his love of drumming in the school’s pipe band - treated to a performance by the current pipers and drummers.

Meanwhile, Gary spoke with GCSE and A-Level Music students about his experiences of the industry.

Gary Lightbody chats with Campbell pupil Ben Coulter. Credit: Michael Cooper

Andrew Doherty, Head of Music at Campbell, said: “We were thrilled to welcome Gary back to the Music department.

“It was a very exciting opportunity and one that was extremely beneficial for our pupils and staff – a superb opportunity to hear from a former pupil who has achieved so much in the world of music.”

Robbie Cooper, a Year 11 drummer with the college’s pipe band, added: “It was great to meet Jonny and interesting to see that being a drummer in a pipe band can lead to all sorts of opportunities.”

Jonny Quinn started out as a drummer in Campbell's pipe band. Credit: Michael Cooper

Gary Lightbody recently spoke out about the power of the arts and sport to positively influence mental health, particularly among young people.

Adding his voice to those calling for a mental health strategy for Northern Ireland - which sees higher rates of self-harm and suicide than the rest of the UK - he hit out at budget cuts for those subjects.

“Take sport, music, art, drama out of kids’ lives and you’re basically removing a significant portion of the things that make life worth living,” the musician said, crediting music with saving his own life.

“We can’t take that joyful stuff away and expect that nothing happens. Of course it will.

“It’ll make it worse.”

The Snow Patrol frontman applauds Campbell pupil George Robinson. Credit: Michael Cooper