Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents

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Philippa Turnbull

Philippa Turnbull (S3) was selected to represent Fife at the Area Badminton Championships in 2005.

Piers Turnbull

The Vice-Captain for Session 2003-4 was Piers Turnbull (Cupar).

Isabel Turner

Trained as a nurse in Stirling Infirmary; Won Gold Medal; Is now Sister of Children’s Ward, East Fortune Hospital; Mrs MacMillan, East Fortune Hospital. Attended BBS in the 1930s.

Jean Turner

MA (St Andrews) Dip Ed; Teaching in Eyemouth Secondary School; Mrs Scott, 10 Bogan, Coldingham. Attended BBS in the early 1940s.

William Turner

Held commission in Black Watch; MA MB ChB (St Andrews); Diploma in Child Health; MO and Base Leader of Admiralty Bay with FIDS Survey; MO in Falkland Islands and in South Georgia with Salvensen’s Whaling Expedition; After being Registrar at Lister Hospital, Hitchin, went as MO to North Borneo; Cottage Hospital Tawau, North Borneo. Attended BBS in the early 1940s.

Christopher Turpie

Kit Turpie (1955) trained as a male nurse after leaving School and worked for a time at Stratheden Hospital. Kit was a very tall boy, often mistaken for a member of staff in his later years at School. He had a deep, resonant and well-modulated voice, and won at least one of the annual Verse-Speaking Competitions. He lives in Glasgow.

Oliver Twentyman

The Proxime Accessit for Session 2010/11 wasOliver Twentyman. Oliver has earned a place at Cambridge to study Law.

Eilidh Urquhart

Eilidh Bogie (née Urquhart) (1959) died on 19th May 2003 at Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh, after a long illness. On leaving School, Eilidh became a Primary School Teacher. She taught in Dunbar, and after she married went to live in Lanarkshire. While there she accompanied her husband on business trips to Holland and became interested in the education in their schools. Later she and her husband came to live in Fife, and Eilidh became Area Senior Teacher for Learning Support. Latterly she was Assistant Advisor for Learning Support in the Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy areas. She was outstanding in her professional career. She had a warm personality and loved children, being a great inspiration to all the children and people with whom she worked. She is survived by her husband Bill, her son Martin and her sister Marjorie.

Finlay Urquhart

Finlay Urquhart (1961) died in hospital in 2014 after a very long illness. Finlay trained at Jordanhill PE College and taught in Balwearie High School, Kirkcaldy. Sadly he fell prey to early onset dementia and had spent many years in hospital. He is survived by his wife and family.

Margaret Urquhart

Mrs Margaret Archibald entered BBS in 1939. She lived in Musselburgh. Midlothian, and was in the Civil Service as well as being a housewife.

Marjorie Urquhart

BBHS 1954-1960

Living in Leslie, I was part of a very small group of pupils who travelled 15 miles each way to school every day on a rather rickety blue bus! We had the furthest distance of all the pupils to travel, along with the pupils from Markinch, and after the Suez crisis in 1956, for more than a year often had a long, cold wait at Cadham to catch the connecting bus home after we were dropped off there, due to a restricted bus service at a time of petrol rationing. Not much fun in rain, snow or sleet. But we were tough Scottish kids! If the bus didn’t come, we walked the 3 miles home…

I did not keep up with many of my school friends for long, as I went to university in Edinburgh, while most ex-Bell-Baxter pupils in those days went on to St Andrews. However, I have kept in touch with Judith (Brown) Fairley over the years, and see her as often as I can on visits to Scotland. So I have had some news of classmates and teachers over the years.

It has been interesting to read others’ accounts of their schooldays and memories of various members of staff at that time. But I was a little surprised that nobody, writing about the school in the late 1950s, mentioned the choir. In my memory, the choir was quite a big part of school activities, and the rivalry between the Fife High Schools was keen, to say the least.

Singing for our school

Singing became part of our lives when Tom Galloway arrived to assist Mr Johnson. A fine musician himself, he imparted to many of us a love of good music that has lasted all our lives. He was a superb choirmaster – being able to make a choir out of almost any group of individuals, and getting people to sing from the heart with great enjoyment. I knew his son Richard at university, and followed his later career with interest, as Tom went on to work at Peterhead Prison, and had a great choir going there before his untimely early passing.

The Choir soon became quite a prestigious thing to belong to, and we had several major events during the year. There was The Messiah at Christmas, usually another concert of more modern music at St. John’s Church at Easter, and, above all, the Schools Music Festival in Edinburgh.

Rehearsals were held in the gym, and Mr Galloway was a hard taskmaster. Only our very best efforts were good enough, and he kept going until our best was what he got. Thus I often was much too late for the bus home, and evening rehearsals at the Church were quite difficult to organise. However, the music teacher was always willing to give me a lift home on his way back to Kirkcaldy, where he lived.

Getting an orchestra together was quite a challenge, and friendly amateur musicians from all around were roped in to accompany the choir, especially for The Messiah. I particularly remember one evening rehearsal, when Mr Galloway had prevailed upon a Kirkcaldy friend of his to play the double bass in the orchestra. The final rehearsal went on late, and it was a cold and very frosty December evening. Mr Galloway’s car was a large but venerable Vauxhall, and inclined to be a bit temperamental. On this icy evening it had a problem starting. Going home together were Mr Galloway, the double bass player, double bass, and myself (quite a small person in those days). The double bass player and I were required to push start this heavy car, sliding the while on the icy road of the Bonnygate, while the double bass reclined against the wall. Once the car spluttered into life, it had to keep moving, so the front passenger door was thrown open (it opened the opposite way round from most car doors these days), I held it open running slowly alongside the car, while the double bass player collected his instrument and eased it, with some difficulty into the front seat space, which was the only place it would fit in the car. Then we shut the front door, still running alongside, opened the back door and clambered as fast as we could into the back seat, somewhat dishevelled and out of breath. But the performance the next day was a great success, and by then the car had recovered from its starting problem!

The highlight of the choir year was the Schools Music Festival, held in the Assembly Rooms in Queen Street in Edinburgh. A couple of buses took us to the capital, and spruced up in our uniforms, we sat in the hall awaiting our turn to sing for our school. The test piece was always Handel’s Zadok the Priest. This must have the longest introduction of any choral piece I know, and there was much serious concentration on counting of bars before the sopranos launched into the piece on a top G at full volume – quite a test for school kids.

The Assembly Rooms had a huge crystal chandelier in the centre of the ceiling – much anxious watching of that as well, as it trembled to the sound of our young voices giving Handel all we had!

The second test piece was, in my recollection, a hymn – but we were always beaten hands down in that section. The Royal Blind School had it down pat – their choice was always Lead Kindly Light, and when they finished, and to be fair, they were not a bad choir, there was not a dry eye in the house. So they always won that section, no matter how well the other choirs sang.

We knew we had no real competition from Waid Academy or Buckhaven High. The ‘enemy’ was Kirkcaldy High School. They had a real dragon lady, whose name escapes me at the moment, as music teacher, and she had them drilled like a sergeant major.

I really don’t remember after all these years whether we won, lost or drew. But we surely sang our hearts out for the glory of the school. And many of us have continued to sing, with great personal pleasure, ever since.

I left school in 1960, and went on to Edinburgh University, where I took an MA with Honours in History and Politics. I moved to Berkshire, taught for a while, then in 1975 moved with my husband (surname Dean) and family to South Africa. We were originally on a two year contract but somehow just stayed here.

Over the past 25 years or so, I have been a writer and broadcaster on local and international travel and the tourism industry in this country. It has been a great career, not earning a fortune, but I have travelled all over the world from the Antarctic to Alaska, from Australia to the Galapagos, and from Japan and Malaysia to California.

A good sound Scottish education at Bell Baxter provided a solid foundation for world travel.

I'm also on the Committee of the South African Military History Society, and give lectures for them quite often.

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