Ramsey boy with cystic fibrosis sees lung function improve after taking up the bagpipes

Bagpipe player Vincent Forkner, from Ramsey St Marys, with mum Victoria Askey.

Bagpipe player Vincent Forkner, from Ramsey St Marys, with mum Victoria Askey. - Credit: Archant

An eight-year-old boy who suffered with breathing difficulties and had to undergo regular respiratory physiotherapy has been given a new lease of life after learning to play the bagpipes.

Bagpipe player Vincent Forkner, from Ramsey St Marys,

Bagpipe player Vincent Forkner, from Ramsey St Marys, - Credit: Archant

Vincent Forkner, of Ugg Mere Court Road, in Ramsey was a diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and cerebral palsy when his mum Victoria Askey was pregnant with him.

Since then his family has had to go through tests every month and physiotherapy almost weekly but after the Upwood Primary School pupil was granted a wish to own his own set of bagpipes Victoria has seen dramatic improvements.

“It didn’t even enter my head that something like this would work we went on holiday to Scotland with his grandma and granddad and Vincent absolutely loved it.”

Once every two months Vincent has a lung function test at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and doctors have been noticing in the amount of air he is able to breathe out of his lungs increased to their delight as well as Vincent’s.


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“It could be down to technique but Vinnie’s previous tests were coming out at 87 to 90 but since he has been playing it has been around 112 and his last one was 122 so I can only put it down to that.”

“The majority of people who pipe have incredibly high lung function as it does take a lot to get a sound out. We were expecting Vinnie to struggle but he has always been a healthy boy,” said Victoria.

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The keen runner and brother to Travis, 12 and Courtney, 23, has also been able to give up the physiotherapy to be able to help him with his breathing.

“He needed physiotherapy for many years but since he has been able to play the bagpipes we have been able to give that up. They are doing everything and more than was the physiotherapy was doing – it is just amazing,” said Victoria.

Victoria has been trying to find out cystic fibrosis suffers that play the bagpipes but to the mum-of-three’s surprise she has only managed to find one other.

“I have only managed to find on so far who lives in Scotland. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find out much more as the boy’s mother is private about her son having CF.”

Vincent first started playing with the Peterborough Pipe Band in March he first learnt to play the chanter, part of a bagpipe that creates a melody, but the family were told that he would soon need his own bagpipe.

“We looked at them and they were quite expensive and that we would probably have to save up.”

The family were then told about the children’s charity Rays of Sunshine that who gives out wishes to youngsters with disabilities and long term illnesses.

“When it came to the time that Vinnie needed a set of bag pipes we decided to approach Rays of Sunshine to see whether they would grant him his wish. We were delighted that they were able to grant his wish to own a full set of bagpipes.”

Vincent received his bag pipes last month and since then has been playing them non-stop to try and play a proper tune.

“It takes him a lot of effort to play the bagpipes as his left side isn’t strong and when they come we thought he was going to have an issue but last Tuesday (January 19) it was the first time he was able to get a tune out of them.

“Ever since he started learning to play it has been a dream of his to own his own set that he can play with the band. He hasn’t stopped playing since he got them.”

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