A flautist and conductor of considerable standing in the flute band fraternity, Ronnie began his distinguished musical career with the once very successful Bessbrook Victoria Flute Band, back in the late 1940s. He later joined the Hunter Moore Memorial and was a prominent member of the band when it finished runner-up in the Senior World Championship two years in succession, during the mid-1950s.
He went on to hold a number of very important posts, including part-time teaching appointments at the School of Music, in Donegall Pass, Belfast at Methodist College and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution. Furthermore, he was also a orchestral deputy for the Northern Ireland Light Orchestra, under David Curry and Terence Loveat, and the Studio Symphony Orchestra and various other radio ensembles with Dr. Havelock Nelson. He also played during the Grand Operatic seasons in Belfast.
Ronnie also led the Ulster Amateurs to many successes in the contest arena, guided Corcrain Flute Band to the Senior World Championship title and played a key role in the transition of Parkmount from Flute Band to military band status. He also led the South Ulster Concert Band to numerous honours, including a treble of All-Ireland Championships and many Northern Ireland awards.
For many years a full-time flute and clarinet tutor with the Southern Education and Library Board, he also conducted the Hunter Moore Memorial Flute Band.
In 2012, Ronnie Bothwell was the British Empire Medal was services to Music and to the Community in Northern Ireland.