Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents

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Gordon Sutherland

Gordon Sutherland (known as Bill at school) was a doctor in Yorkshire. Bill was School Captain for Session 1970-1.

Ian Sutherland


BBHS 1943-47

Bussed in every day from Newburgh I spent five fulfilling years at Bell Baxter ending in passing my Highers in 1947. My mandatory seven subject group included French and German.

Ignoring 6th year or University I drifted into a small town Bank, only to discover their methods and policies of the 1940s were the same as the 1920s. Huge bound ledgers and pens with nibs.

Salvation came with my RAF National Service in Air Traffic Control where, with an early promotion, I was able to use initiative and make decisions. More importantly I was using the latest means of communication including teleprinters.

Returning to the Bank I was transferred to a larger branch where I found in use in a back office two NCR accounting machines. I was fascinated and, unlike all the other male staff, I learned to operate them, the type keyboard being identical to the teleprinter. In discussions with the NCR technician I also learned to program them.

Unsurprisingly, a few years later in 1957, I joined NCR - to sell accounting machines. Thus began a successful and enjoyable 23 years in Scotland and England during which we were hit by the double whammy of Decimalisation and Computers. The first opened our exclusive Sterling market to competitors whose equipment had been counting in tens for years, the second involved us in a fast-changing market where the older companies could not keep up.

NCR’s days were numbered, and like many sales people I jumped ship and in 1980 joined a French manufacturing company. Our project was to launch a computer-based product simultaneously in every European country. This involved regular meetings, all held in France.

The meetings always began in English, but if items got exciting or argumentative the dominant countries, France and Germany, would revert to their native tongues. At this point Bell Baxter kicked in.

After 33 dormant years the vocabularies dinned in to me by Annie Batchelor and her staff began to surface. I was regularly surprised by how much I understood and my efforts were appreciated by my foreign colleagues. Ten happy years followed before the computer industry’s constant desire for change claimed another victim. Then blissful retirement to the golf course.

Ian died at his home in Leicestershire on 9th December 2010.

Janet Sandeman Smith Sutherland

Mrs Janet Noble entered BBS in 1937. She lived in Glenrothes and was a Secretary Housewife, Mother and Pianist.

Jeanette Sutherland

Mrs Jeanette Ellis (née Sutherland) wrote from New South Wales (in connection with a reunion of the Class of ’47 held on 23 August 1997) and mentioned the sailing prowess of her son and daughter, who participate in laser sailing championships around the world. Jeanette was still working as a pharmacist, doing relief work, and her husband is a structural engineer.

Ross Sutherland

Ross Sutherland (1990s) of Cupar was on tour in his first play in Scotland in 2000. The play, Decky Does a Bronco by Douglas Maxell is produced by Judith Docherty of the Edinburgh Grid Iron Theatre Company and is an outdoor tour of swing parks across Scotland involving the use of swings, actors and acrobatics. The play ran in the Edinburgh Fringe 2000 and received two awards - The Scotsman Fringe First Award for New Writing and The Stage" award for Acting Exellence. While he was in Edinburgh he appeared on the Brian Morton Show on BBC Scotland and on Scottish Television's Festival Daze. Ross graduated from the Guildford School of Acting and has appeared in Dick Whittington in London's West End.

Jennifer Suttie

Jennifer Suttie graduated BSc in Speech Pathology and Language from Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh in 1999. Jennifer already has an MA in Religious Studies, with Honours in Greek, from Edinburgh University.

Elizabeth R Swan


BBS 1934-37

Elizabeth Swan entered fourth year at BBS in 1934. She took a BSc at St Andrews and became a Biology Teacher and Principal Teacher of Guidance at Bell Baxter. She retired to Lymm, Cheshire.

The following obituary was published online in the Dundee Courier on 21 June 2013:

Former Fife teacher Mrs Elizabeth Myskow has died in New Zealand at the age of 93.

Mrs Myskow on her 90th birthday
Mrs Myskow was the last surviving of four daughters of Fife farmer William Swan, Dunino, and latterly St Fort Farm, by Wormit. mrs myskow.jpg

Mrs Myskow gained a BSc degree at St Andrews, studying at Queens College, Dundee.

She met her late husband Michael, a Polish officer, during the war when she was his English tutor.

They were married at Forgan Church after the end of hostilities and went to live in South Africa, where Mr Myskow worked in forestry and she taught science at schools in Pietermaritzburg.

They had two children — Janina (qv) and Michael.

Mr Myskow died in the late 1950s and three years later Mrs Myskow returned to Scotland with her children to be with her father in his latter years.

She continued her career in education, teaching biology at Bell Baxter High School, Cupar.

After retirement, she went to stay near her son Michael in Lymm, Cheshire.

Michael, a pathologist, then secured a position in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand, and after several return trips in her eighties, Mrs Myskow relocated there to stay with her son, daughter-in-law Bernie and their twin daughters Anna and Amy.

As Mrs Myskow became more frail she moved into a care home, where she died on Monday.

She is survived by her son Michael and her daughter Janina, a journalist, radio and TV broadcaster and a former editor of Jackie magazine, who lives in London.

From the 1984 School Magazine:

At the end of this summer session we see the close of the 48th term of Bell Baxter's oldest society, The Biological Society. It is hoped to continue our meetings way past the half century, but for one member of staff this active association sadly comes to an end, and therefore we wish her a happy, fulfilling retirement. As a founder member she has watched the society which teaches Biology at many varying levels of interest. ‘Miss Swan’* will be sadly missed, her support allowing the more recent committee members to create an assortment of informative lectures on the subject of Biology.

The article below illustrates how ‘Miss Swan’ put forward her researched facts and point of view as a pupil. Her concern for her surrounding natural environment and love of Biology has been shown in her teaching, and the Biological Society will continue to promote these high ideals.

From the Fife Herald 1937:


Pupil's Address at Bell-Baxter School, Cupar.

A meeting of the Bell-Baxter Biological Society was held in the Lecture Room on Friday last week. Johnston Anderson, president, was in the chair, and he introduced Miss Elizabeth Swan, Class VI, the vice-president, who gave a talk on ‘The Fox and the Badger.’

Miss Swan said that the bark of the fox was short and low. The fox is a good mimic and can imitate the squeal of a rabbit in pain, or the bleating of a sheep, all for the purpose of trapping the unwary and increasing his larder. When pursued by hounds, he knows how to break his scent; he sometimes steals a ride on a sheep's back, or, if there are no sheep, makes for water, jumps in and drifts with just his nose above the water until the danger is past. The playful antics of the cubs were shown. Cubs have no scent until they are four months old. They have been known to have been kept as pets, and they are very playful - even more so than a puppy or a kitten.

Miss Swan then went on to describe the badger, which depends more on its sense of smell than on its sight. It lives underground In Its sett nearly all day, except when the sun is shining; then it sunbathes in a little nest, just above the entrance to its sett. The setts were described and illustrated, and the cleanliness of the badger was emphasised. A badger's scratching post was also described, and, because all the neighbouring badgers use it, it very often becomes the marriage exchange of the district.

The young of badgers are also very playful. Miss Swan said that, although badger baiting was now illegal, it was probably still indulged in.

The value of the talk was enhanced by means of illustrations shown through the epidiascope.

Johnston Anderson thanked Miss Swan for her interesting lecture, and called on Miss Jane Alexander to propose a vote of thanks.

It was intimated that at the next meeting of the Society, two sound films would be shown. The attendance at the meeting was 90.

*‘Miss Swan’ was better known to the pupils of 1984 as Mrs Myskow.

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