Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents

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Ronald Haig Wilson


BBS 1931-34

Ronald Wilson entered third year at Bell Baxter School in 1931. From 1935 to 1940 he attended the University of St Andrews and Frankfurt University. He served in the British Army during the Second World War and in the Control Commission for Germany (later British Embassy in Germany) as a Specialist and Adviser on Adult Education from 1946 to 1958. From 1958-1962 he was the Senior Adult Tutor, Leicestershire Education Committee, 1962-1964 Further Education Adviser, Huddersfield LEA and from 1964-1980 Principal, College of Adult Education, Manchester. He retired to Stockport, Cheshire.

The following information was gleaned from the Institute of Education, University of London:

Administrative history: Ronald (Ronnie) Haig Wilson (1917-2005) was a prominent educationalist who devoted his life to the advancement of international adult education in UK and Europe.

Born in Edinburgh on 30 October 1917, he specialized in the study of languages at school, influenced by educational cruises to Scandinavia, the Netherlands Belgium and Germany. From 1935-1938 he studied German and French at St Andrew's University. Wilson was part of an exchange scholarship to Germany from 1938-1939, where he had first hand experience of the Third Reich regime and Nazi propaganda.

He joined the army after completing his MA in 1940, first serving with the Royal Artillery. He later volunteered for the intelligence corps and was based at Fort William, where he was responsible for military security and counter intelligence. In the last months of the War he was stationed Germany where his knowledge of the language and the country were used to help with the war effort. After the war he was in a unit which gathered intelligence necessary for the aims of the occupation to be carried out and was seconded to carry out work for Education Control.

On his discharge from the army in 1946 he worked for the 'Education Branch of the Internal Affairs and Communication Division, Control Commission for Germany (British Element)'. In 1947 he was posted to Rhineland/Westphalia where he liaised with the German administration and educational institutions, but was soon moved to the adult education section, for which he was initially 'less than enthusiastic'. From 1947-1958 Wilson worked for the Education Branch (Control Commission for Germany), later the Cultural Department of the British High Commission, travelling extensively through North Rhine/Westphalia, moving to Berlin in 1950, and Bonn in 1956. His work involved meeting with adult education principals and organisers; promoting internationally based and staffed residential conferences and summer schools; and helping rebuild the shattered society. While stationed in Berlin he also observed adult education provision in East Berlin and was part of the Cultural Relations Group, Berlin. Wilson also helped found the Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband (DVV), a German adult education association, in 1953. While working in Germany, Wilson met his future wife, Edith, whom he married in 1949. In 1957 the British Government decided to close the Education branch and he returned to the UK.

In February 1958 he was appointed the Senior Adult Tutor at Ivanhoe Community College in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. In 1962 he moved to a newly created post of Educational Organiser (Further Education) for Huddersfield, where he established a joint school/adult provision at the Almondbury campus where a full time adult educator was employed, who was not subservient to the head of the school. In 1964 he became the head of Manchester's College of Adult Education, the post for which he is most remembered in the UK. Wilson presided over the expansion of its work, and over saw the building of the purpose built college which fully opened in 1975. He retired in 1980.

He was an active member of the Educational Centres Association (ECA) from the early 1970s and was elected the President of the ECA from 1994-1996. He also served briefly on the Leicestershire county Council (1958-1962) and the Huddersfield Education Authority (1962-1964). In his retirement he continued to teach adult education and represented the ECA at various conferences. He strove throughout his life to ensure that British Educators and the Educational Centres Association were always aware of the international nature of adult education with European culture. He died on 1st January 2005.

Content and Structure Scope and content:

Papers of Ronald (Ronnie) Wilson, mainly relating to his career in adult education in Germany and England, 1945-2005, including: biographical information on Wilson, 1992-2005; papers related to his work in post-war Germany, 1945-1963; papers regarding his career in adult education in the UK, 1950-[2003]; writings and papers by Wilson and others on various subjects regarding adult education in Germany and the UK, educational reconstruction in post war Germany, 1947-2002; conference papers collected by Wilson from Anglo-German conferences, German adult education conferences, and other conferences on adult education mainly after his return to the UK, 1952-2002; general correspondence, 1952-1996; papers regarding prominent adult educationalists, 1947-1999; and photographs, 1952-2003. A large proportion of the collection is in German.

Subject terms: Adult educators, Educational administrators, Educational Policy, Postwar reconstruction, Workers' educational associations, Adult education institutions, Educational associations, Military education, Summer schools

Conditions of Access and Use

Access conditions:

Available for study.

Finding aids: Available on the on-line catalogue. Paper copy of the catalogue can be accessed in the Archives' search room.

Allied materials

Related material: The Institute of Education also hold the records of the German Educational Reconstruction (DC/GER).
Associated Materials: Wilson's papers related to his work at Manchester College of Adult Education were transferred to Manchester Central Library and papers on Wilson's work with the Educational Centres Association were transferred to National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).

Sarah Wilson


A former north-east Fife woman working for Christian Aid has given a moving account of the chaos and despair she's witnessed while helping the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

But amid the misery Sarah Wilson (43) says that there have also been some minor miracles — like that of the woman she saw being pulled from the wreckage of a building and emerged not only alive, but singing.sarah wilson.

Sarah, a former pupil of Bell Baxter High School in Cupar, is part of a Christian Aid team working with other organisations to provide round-the-clock help for the people affected by the disaster, which has left thousands dead and countless others homeless. She arrived in Haiti less than a week after the earthquake struck, and has kept a diary of what she saw during the first few days. Here are some extracts:

Tuesday, January 19 2010

Arrived in Haiti yesterday and met Prospery Raymond, Christian Aid's country representative, who was trapped in our Port-au-Prince office for hours when it collapsed. He said the earthquake felt 'like you are on a big wave…you see the soil moving with you. It was really terrible.' Within hours, Prospery was trying to co-ordinate aid efforts among Christian Aid partner agencies, finding emergency relief items to distribute to more than 15,000 people in eight different locations. We're concentrating on buying food in local markets to distribute. Most people have no money to buy food and banks are closed. Local farmers have food to sell and if they do not sell it, it will rot.

Wednesday, January 20

Incredible afternoon — a woman was pulled to safety from the wreckage of a priest's residence at the Roman Catholic Cathedral. After a week! She was brought out on a stretcher but was singing when she emerged, put on a drip and taken to hospital. An amazing thing to witness, no-one could believe she was still alive. Went to bed later in the tent — woken in the middle of the night by a big tremor, the biggest I felt since I got here. Particularly scary for those who lived through the big quake. Turns out it was 6.1 magnitude.

Thursday, January 21

Aid's beginning to get distributed. One of Christian Aid's church partners from Europe, Diakonie, had been trying to land a plane from Belgium for days. Problems with air traffic control at Port-au-Prince airport since the tower was badly damaged made landing difficult. Finally, it's here, with four portable hospitals, large tents for schools and administration buildings, plus medical equipment. Some of the cargo was transported by Argentinian United Nations troops to Leogane, where I met Clement Celis, homeless, no word from her husband since the earthquake. Today she received two five-gallon jerry cans, plastic sheeting for shelter and a blanket.

Friday, January 22

Met Sandra Saintilair, who used to earn a living for herself and her baby by selling milk in front of her house. Since her house collapsed, she's been living in an encampment in the Grand Rue section of Port-au-Prince, using what little money she had to buy food, but it's running out. Today, only a few small fruits were available. But, she bathed and washed her clothes for the first time today. Norwegian Church Aid, one of Christian Aid's partners, pumped clean water into the camp. The 10,000-gallon tank was drained in 20 minutes flat as dozens of people crowded around to fill their buckets.

Stanley Wilson

Stanley Wilson (1945) of Cupar died on 29th May 1997 after some months of deteriorating health. Stanley worked with Fife Council. He is survived by his wife and two sons, Alan and Wayne (qv).

Stevie Wilson

Stevie Wilson, a member of the Bell Baxter XV that won the Bell Lawrie Trophy in 2007, helped the Scotland under-19 team to a 32-10 win over Italy in Milan in early 2008. Stevie now plays for Dundee HS and was selected for the Scotland under-20 team to play against England in 2008.

Wayne Wilson

Wayne Wilson (1982) of Cupar was awarded the prize in Biochemistry at Dundee University while in his third year in 1991. Wayne graduated in July 1992 with a First Class Honours degree in Biochemistry and was also awarded the British Association Medal for the best student of the year in the Chemistry and Engineering departments. Wayne is now continuing his studies in Dundee, with his sights set on a PhD.wilson-wayne-375x563.jpg

He completed his PhD at Dundee University in 1995. His thesis was entitled: ‘Characterisation of a homologue of mammalian AMP - activated protein kinese in Saccharomyces cerevisiae’. Following this, he took up the post of Post-doctoral researcher at Indiana University School of Medicine, looking at ‘the Signal transduction events associated with the control of glycogen metabolism in Saccharomyces’. He was appointed Associate Professor of Biochemistry at Des Moines University, Iowa, in 2005.

Bunty Windram

From Issue 2 of the FPA Newsletter:

Bunty Windram (now Mrs. McLeod) has recently returned to the Cupar area. She lives now at East Rankeilour Lodge after having spent part of her career in Canada and then in Oban. She attended Bell Baxter in the late 1940s.

Calum Winter

BBHS 2006-12

Calum Winter (S6), who has figured in the musical field on several occasions, has made his mark in the Science world at an early stage. Recently (early 2012) he appeared with two other pupils, one from Mackie Academy, Stonehaven, and one from Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow, at the launch of the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s new Scottish Baccalaureate qualifications in Expressive Arts and Social Sciences. Calum has always been interested in the weather, and he wondered, following the two unpredictably severe winters, if there might be a better way of forecasting the weather which might have a positive impact on people's lives.

This was the focus of his baccalaureate project. Calum is going on to study physics at
Edinburgh University.

James Winter

James Winter, who was in fifth year at the time, was given a valuable insight into the world of business thanks to the Rotary Club of Cupar. He was sponsored to take part in a Challenge Enterprise organised by the Rotary District 1010 in March 2000. A number of young people who have shown some inclination towards entrepreneurship attended the course at St Michael's Inn and they were given an introduction to business ideas, good practice and some legal problems.

Douglas Wishart

The School Captain for Session 2000-1 was Douglas Wishart (Cupar).

Kenneth Wishart

Kenneth Wishart of Cupar was the School Captain for Session 1998-9.

Roberta Wishart

Mrs Roberta Eadie (née Wishart) (1944) died in early February 2011 after a long illness. When she left School, Ruby went to work in the florist's shop in Newburgh. After she married and moved to Cupar, her work, before and after the arrival of her children, took her to various shops and businesses in Cupar, including the West Port Post Office. She was predeceased by her husband and is survived by three daughters and a son.

Brian Wood

Warrant Officer Brian Wood, who attended Bell Baxter between 1960 and 1965, was President of the Warrant Officers' and Senior Ratings' Mess at HMS Drake, the Royal Naval barracks in Plymouth, in 1996.

Brian joined the Navy straight from school, serving on destroyers and minesweepers and then, as a Petty Officer, on the aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal. He served in many parts of the world until he was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer, becoming a nuclear, chemical and damage control instructor based at Portland and working with foreign navies. He lives in Saltash, Cornwall, with his wife and three children.

Maisie S Wood

Mrs Maisie Yule entered BBS in 1937. She lived in Cupar and was employed by Fife County Council in the Assessor's Department.

Shari Wrigglesworth

Mrs Shari Bruce died in early November 2014. Shari was a wonderful dancer when she was young and her hope had been to become a ballerina. She did pursue a career in dancing for a time, but after she married and had her family her health deteriorated. She had been in a residential home for some time. She is survived by her husband and her two daughters.

Andrew Wynd

Andrew Wynd (late 1970s) has set up a business which, he hopes, may benefit thousands of NHS patients and save the taxpayer around £8 million a year. Along with a team of experts, he has developed a product know as ‘Musmate’ which is designed to help people suffering from ‘dropped foot’. This is commonly found in those who suffer from multiple sclerosis or following a stroke. The new device provides a simple means of control. In trials, users found that their walking ability improved by 62%. There has been interest from around the globe. Of the 85,000 people in the UK suffering from multiple sclerosis, 40% have dropped foot and around a third of the 100,000 stroke victims in the UK also suffer from this problem. The device uses a combination of shoulder harness and elasticated assembly. Andrew graduated from Edinburgh University and then worked in Chemistry research and development. He joined the NHS to look at innovations with commercial promise and now works in the south of England.

Colin Wynd

I left Bell Baxter in 1982. Have been in the US for last 20 years. Last 10 years, I've been  living in Manasquan, NJ – 3 blocks from the beach at the ‘Jersey Shore’.

Helen Yates

Mrs Helen Oliver entered BBS in 1938. She married W R Oliver (qv) and lived in St Andrews. She attended the University from 1943-45 and did University Research from 1945-55 and 1976-85.

Jordan Young

Jordan Young (1992) is yet another FP who is making his career in the acting world. He took a lead role in the 6-part series Legit which went out on BBC1 in September 2007. He played the part of the loveable rogue, Danny, a Glasgow market trader. He has also taken parts in Still Game and Rebus, but this was his first major TV rôle. He also plays a part in a Scottish Executive public service film, acting as the man who is egged on by his friend to have another drink and ends up becoming a public nuisance. He graduated from Glasgow's Queen Margaret University in 2001. He also played the rôle of Rosco in the award-winning production of Black Watch.

Jackie Young

Mrs Jackie Burnett (née Young) (mid 1970s) died in December 2008 after a long illness. She became the supervisor of D C Thomson's advertising counter before being seconded to oversee the implementation of the company's new advertising programme. She remained with the company until she was forced by ill health to retire the year before her death. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and then worked to raise £2,000 for Ninewells Oncology Unit. Among other events, she renewed her marriage vows with her husband at a ceremony at which the guests were invited to donate money instead of giving gifts. She is survived by her husband, a son and a daughter.

Thomas Young

Thomas Young (1944 approx.) died in May 2007 after a long illness. Tom left school to begin an apprenticeship as a watchmaker with his uncle in Ladybank. He did National Service in the RAF as a gun armourer and then returned to complete his apprenticeship with Constable's in Kirkcaldy. In 1956 he opened his Cupar jeweller's shop in Bonnygate. He handed over the business to his son Eric and his daughter Linda in 1999, but continued to work in the business until the autumn of 2006. In his youth he played football for Ladybank Violets and he was a keen golfer. He was a Past President of Cupar Curling Club, a member of Cupar Burns Club and a Past Master of Ladybank Masonic lodge.

He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.

Charles Yule

Charles Yule (1941) died very suddenly at home on 18th September 2007. Charlie served his apprenticeship as a joiner with Fred Roger. Later he moved to work with Dalrymple and Blyth and then to R S Wilson. For many years he was an Elder in St John's Church. He was a keen bowler until his health declined, but after the death of his wife, he was able nonetheless to remain independent at home. He was also very active in the Masonic Lodge, and the day he died he had just returned from being presented with a certificate marking 50 years of membership. He was predeceased by his wife in 2004 and is survived by his two daughters.

Elizabeth Yule

Liz Yule (Tayport) was one of 3 North East Fife artists who handed over paintings to Fife Primary Care Trust in 2000 for display in St Andrews Memorial Hospital. This is the fifth time one of Liz's paintings has been chosen by Shell for display in this way. Her work showed the North East village of Portmahomack.

1We wonder if Peter noticed the paragraph in the margin of the article, which welcomes ‘self written obituaries and good quality photographs, and, as a medical journal (we) encourage authors to include the cause of death’. Doctors obviously know more than the rest of us!

2 Alas, now only one. (Ed).

3Remember that this article was written in 1952! Messrs Dawson and Robertson are long since deceased. Mr Dawson left Bell Baxter in 1919 to become Director of Education in Perth.

4The identity of W.G.I. is not known, but Newsletter Editor Muriel Dymock suspects it may well have been the late Willie Innes, of the well-known local stationery firm, now to be found only in St Andrews. Mr Innes was a contemporary of Bertie Staig at Bell Baxter.

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