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The Gordon Schools, Huntly
Renewing our Vision and Values
Mr Phil Gaiter, rector of The Gordon Schools, invites all members of the Former Pupils’ Association and all former pupils to take part in the reflection on vision and values for The Gordon Schools. Please click on the Vision-and-Values (Word-file) link to see the leaflet that will guide your responses.
The school may be contacted at this address:
Kirstie Plays the Game
Congratulations to former pupil Kirstie Gordon, who has been selected to represent her country at the ICC Women’s Global Qualifier in Sri Lanka in February. The cricket squad “will be going out there to do our country proud”. (Scotland captain Abbi Aitken)
For details please see Pat Scott’s article in The Huntly Express, dated 20/01/17
Obituary: John Dawson
Please find the obituary by clicking on the link.
Tribute to Allan Thomson
22nd January 1934 to 30th March 2016
Allan Thomson was born in Huntly as one of eleven children. He was educated at The Gordon Schools. After school, he worked as a butcher’s messenger boy to help support his mother. He played football for Huntly FC together with his brothers Sandy, Jack and Bill.
Allan began his career at Spence’s of Huntly.
After his National Service, stationed in Hong Kong, he moved to Loughborough, where in 1956 he became manager of the Towels Knitwear Company. In 1959, he went to New Zealand to join that country’s largest textile company, eventually advancing to managing director. In 1964, he returned to the UK with his first wife Helen. He joined Greenwoods Textile Company in Biddulph, North Staffordshire, serving as managing director from 1975 to 1979. Before retiring in 1988, he held his last post with Charnos as managing director.
He married his second wife Monica in 1992.
Allan was a regular church goer. He pursued many interests such as golfing, gardening, fishing, travelling, music and dancing. His favourite tipple was a Clenfarclas malt.
A very special occasion for Allan was the day he was awarded the Freedom of the City of London for his services to the textile industry.
He spent his last two and a half years at Rutland Manor, where on March 30th, 2016, he died peacefully at the age of 82.
He is survived by his wife Monica, his daughter Clare and his granddaughter Stephanie.
Former Pupil Receives Honour
Patricia McWilliam (now Patricia Straughen) was awarded an OBE for her charitable work with the Archie Foundation and Maggie's Cancer Centre in Aberdeen.
For details, please see the article in The Huntly Express, dated 05/08/16.
Corporal Michael Pike Remembered
On the fifth anniversary of Corporal Pike's death in Afghanistan, five of his comrades laid a wreath at the Huntly War Memorial to commemorate their fallen friend. Corporal Pike was killed in action in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, in June 2011.
For details, please see the article in The Huntly Express, dated Friday, June 10, 2016. See also EVENTS page, centre column: Corporal Michael Pike.
Former Pupil Rebukes Scottish Government
Shona Donaldson – Bothy Ballad Champion
Bothy Ballad Champion
Member of The Gordon Schools'
Former Pupils' Association
Receives Citizen of the Year Award
Musical couple Keith Cockburn and wife Pam were the popular choice of the Huntly community for the award of Huntly's Citizens of the Year 2015. Described as "inspirational individuals and great ambassadors for Huntly", they were chosen from among fifty nominations.
To read the articles in The Huntly Express of Friday, December 11th, 2015, please click the link.
Late on Wednesday evening, May 6, 2015, Ewen McDonald, former rector of The Gordon Schools, Huntly, died peacefully at Alexander Scott’s Hospital at the age of 94. The funeral service was held at Strathbogie Church, Huntly, on Friday, May 15, at 1.15 pm.
He was a man, take him for all in all,
[We] shall not look upon his like again.
Miss Isobel Forbes
Isobel Munro Forbes was born at Lady's Bridge in 1927. When she was still a little girl, the family – mother, father and two brothers – moved to Grange, where her father was the stationmaster. She received her early education at Keith Grammar School, where she was a very bright and academically alert pupil. At the age of seventeen, she went to Aberdeen University to study Mathematics.
Willing to teach anywhere, Isobel Forbes took up her first teaching post in Perthshire. After the death of her mother in 1949, she came home to look after her father and brothers. In time, she became a teacher of Mathematics at the Gordon Schools in Huntly and then Assistant Head Teacher with special responsibility for Guidance and Pastoral Care.
A dedicated teacher and mentor, she still found time for numerous outside interests: she was a very successful Maths tutor for many years; she was an elder of the Kirk for thirty-three years, a member of both the church and the school choir, of the stroke club, the bowling club, ARC and the Former Pupils’ Association; for a time, she was an officer in the Lifeboys and golf captain; she played bridge, took an interest in lace-making and was a great reader and crossword enthusiast.
Mrs Jane Kennedy
Mrs Kennedy retired from teaching after thirty-five years on July 2, 1982. The surprise party that her colleagues and the pupils of the Unit had prepared for her was a fitting token of the esteem in which she was held by teachers and pupils alike.
David Smart has kindly made available a photograph of Mrs Kennedy with her class on the first day of school in 1947. Pleass click here.
Millie Herd, BEM
After a short illness, borne with great dignity, Millie Herd, a former pupil of The Gordon Schools, died on Thursday, March 12, 2015, at Dr Gray’s Hospital, aged 83 years.
Millie (pictured on the far right in this photograph from The Northern Scot) was a well-known local musician who, over the years, played in many different bands, raising thousands of pounds for local charities. Her music took her all over the world, and she made many friends.
In June 2013, on returning to Moray from a trip to Denmark with the Elgin Strathspey and Reel Society, she learned that she had been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. She was presented with her medal by Grenville Johnston, Lord Lieutenant of Moray. He paid tribute to Millie as someone who had dedicated her life to the community.
Apart from music, Millie’s other great love was cats. Among her favourite sayings was one borrowed from Albert Schweitzer:
There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.
The Herald, January 15, 2015
On January 15th, 2015, the death at the age of 90 of Ena Baxter was announced. Born Ena Robertson on August 12th, 1924, at Drumblair House near Forgue, Ena Baxter grew up in Huntly, where she was a pupil at The Gordon Schools. A talented artist, she studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and maintained a life-long passion for art. During the Second World War, she worked with the Ministry of Food at the Torry Research Station in Aberdeen. After the war, she found employment as a teacher of Art in Fochabers.
In 1952, Ena Robertson married Gordon Baxter and joined the Baxter brothers’ family business. Through her recipes for soups, she was instrumental in turning the business into one of Scotland’s most successful food companies. In 1981, the couple set up the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, which provides financial support to good causes in the Highlands and in Moray. After 1992, when George and Ena Baxter handed over the running of the firm to their daughter Audrey, Mrs Baxter was able to spend more time in her studio, raising funds for charity through exhibitions at Duff House and in Aberdeen. In 1994, she was awarded an honorary degree from Aberdeen University for services to the community and to industry in Scotland.
Ena Baxter is survived by her daughter Audrey, her son Andrew and seven grandchildren.
Annual Magazine 'The School Road' Published
The annual Magazine of the Gordon Schools' Former Pupils' Association has been published. There are over 50 pages of news and articles written by former pupils. To mark the 175th Anniversary of the founding of The Gordon Schools every member has received the Magazine free of charge, despite the high cost of postage. The Magazine is also on general sale to the public at Rizza's and Dean's, costing £5.
Magazine Committee members are pictured (L-R: Isabel McGregor (Vice-President), Nora Morrison (President), Mary McTavish (Secretary), Alison Brown and Ena Brown. Click on the link to view the article from 'The Huntly Express': The School Road Huntly Express
Ebola Charity Worker Returns
For the past two years, Kate Aykroyd (25) has been working with the charity Save the Children. Most recently she has been deployed in Guinea in West Africa where the organisation has been at the forefront of tackling the devastating Ebola outbreak. Read more... Kate Aykroyd
175th Anniversary - Bequest of Grand Piano
At the recent launch of the book to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of The Gordon Schools, it was announced that the late George Donald had bequeathed his grand piano to The Gordon Schools. To read more about this event and the news of the bequest, please follow the links to the press cuttings:
Recent Graduations featured in 'The Huntly Express' include Myles Cormack, Scott Law, Benjamin Mitchell and Lindsay Reid, Fiona Marshall, Hannah Ingram, Deborah May, Rosemary Pope, Euan Morrison, Annah MacLennan, Lynn Angus, Jayne Stuart. To see the newspaper articles and photographs please click on the links.
In addition, the following former pupils graduated from
North East Scotland College:
Lisa Mackie (HND Animal Care)
Angela Gordon (HNC Early Education & Childcare)
Chris Sutherland HND Coaching and Developing Sport)
Fiona Fullerton (BSc Geography-Geoscience)
Genevieve Munro (Bachelor of Education)
Roisin Simpson (Divinity)
Robert Gordon University:
Richard Brown (BSc Quantity Surveying)
Andrew Chalmers (MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering)
Connor Dean (MEng Mechanical and Offshore Engineering)
Kim Emslie (BSc Applied Sports & Exercise Science)
Jade Esson (BA Photography)
Sean McWilliam (Bachelor of Design - Product Design)
Russell Morrison (BSc Computer Network Management and Design)
Bruce Sievewright (BSc Computer Science)
Emma Moore (BSc in Agriculture)
Hugh Ross (BSc in Agriculture)
(Huntly Express 18/09/15)
Please see the article in The Huntly Express for names. The Huntly Express (16/10/15)
'The Huntly Express' on 22 August 2014 carried this article: "Former pupils of The Gordon Schools have paid a warm tribute to a popular former teacher who died last month. Andrew Crawford taught technical education in The Gordon Schools in the late 1950s and went on to study to be a maths teacher.
"Former pupils, including James Morrison, Keith Bowie, Nigel Grant, Brian Henderson, Colin Melvin, Francis Grant and Derek Mitchell recalled that Mr Crawford often spoke of his happy days at The Gordon Schools and friendly tussles on the golf ourse. Mr Crawford, who latterly lived in Fraserburgh, died on 16 July 2014 aged 86."
175th Anniversary Parade
As President of the Former Pupils' Association, I am privileged to voice the congratulations of the Association to The Gordon Schools on the occasion of their 175th Anniversary. Our members look back with pride on our schools' long record of progress, evident by the marked successes of so many of our former pupils at home and abroad.
The school continues to maintain its fine traditions and on behalf of the Association, I send best wishes for the success of the coming celebrations and for the future progress and further development of our school.
The Parent Council of The Gordon Schools produced advice and information about the 175th Anniversary of the founding of The Gordon Schools and the Parade on Saturday, 29 March 2014. To read more about this, please go to: Parade Programme and Sponsors
Angela Shearer Awarded M.B.E.
Congratulations to former School Captain Angela Shearer on being awarded an M.B.E. in the 2013 2014 New Year Honours list, for her fund raising for Cancer Research through the highly succesful 'Relay for Life'. She has helped to organise a massive sum of money over the years through this. Anglea is a member of the department of Physical Education in Banff Academy.
Whole School Millennium Photograph
The whole school photograph taken in October 2000 to celebrate the Millennium involved all pupils and staff in the secondary department in The Gordon Schools. It can be seen in full on the Contacts page.
Class of '85 Reunion
A group of forty year olds went back to school recently for a reunion with their former classmates. Class of '85 Reunion
George Donald, who has died aged 79, was a brilliant Scottish pianist and a member of the famous 'Scotland the What?' comedy team. He grew up in Huntly and was educated at The Gordon Schools. The 'Scotland the What?' trio of George Donald, Steve Robertson and Buff Hardie were each awarded the M.B.E. in the Queen's Honours List in 1995 and were given the Freedom of Aberdeen in 2008.
George Donald was principal guest at Prizegiving in 1998. He is pictured here with Dux Medallist Ross Ives.
Tribute to Jean McBoyle
It is with deep sadness that we record the death of our Honorary Vice-President Mrs Jean McBoyle (Hunter). Jean passed away peacefully at her home on 3rd January 2013.
A former Dux of The Gordon Schools and whose affection for the school remained strong throughout her life, Jean worked tirelessly, efficiently and quietly on our behalf, (writes President of the Association Mrs Nora Morrison).
As secretary of the Association for 35 years (1973 to 2008), Jean steered the committee through good and bad times, helping to organise many reunions, including the highly successful 75th Anniversary Millennium Celebration in August 2000. Over the years she has collaborated with successive editors in producing and typing 'The School Road', starting off on a manual typewriter in 1984.
Jean had a wealth of knowledge of Huntly and its inhabitants and would always find an answer to any query from our members.
Highly respected by all who knew her, Jean will be a great loss to our Association. We have lost a very dearly loved friend.
Photographs from School Shows
Photographs from a number of school shows have been scanned and added to the photographic section. These include 'The Wind in the Willows', 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Alice in Wonderland', 'The Snow Queen', 'Pinocchio', 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe', 'The Princess and the Goblin', 'Sinbad' and the drama presentation at the relaunch of The Gordon Highlander's Museum.
The Former Pupils' Association welcomes contact. The contact section provides a convenient way to sign the Guestbook and make a comment. Advice sent to the Association will be edited and placed on the Guestbook page.