Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents

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Christine D Bowden

Mrs Christine Scott entered BBS in 1943. She qualified as a Pharmaceutical Chemist at Royal College of Science, Glasgow, and had a career in Primary Health Care as the Senior Pharmacist at Stobhill Hospital. She lived in Bearsden. She had three sisters, Jean (qv), Rosemary and Wendy (qv).

Jean Bowden

Mrs Jean Gill entered BBS in 1937. She qualified MB ChB at Edinburgh University and underwent post-graduate training in Psychiatry at the University of
Manchester, practising as a Consultant Psychiatrist at Bolton General Hospital. She also helped her husband, Dr J J Gill, in general practice. She lived in Eccles, Manchester. She had three sisters, Christine (qv), Rosemary and Wendy (qv).

Wendy Bowden

Miss Wendy Bowden (1933) died in hospital on 18th November 2010 after many years of poor health. When Wendy left school she trained as a teacher of Home Economics at Edinburgh College of Domestic Science, Atholl Crescent. Her first teaching job was in Shropshire, but after the Second World War she returned to Fife and taught at Buckhaven High School before becoming Head of Department at Aberhill School in Methil.

A keen traveller, she was delighted to be one of the first teachers on the exchange scheme with the USA and she spent a year teaching at a high school in New Jersey. On returning to Scotland she resumed her former job, but she had a lifelong interest in Guiding and she accepted a job, sponsored jointly by the British council and the Girl Guides, in Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo. At a time of political instability in the region, it was thought that the encouragement of youth movements would help to ease the tension between the diverse ethnic groups. She had an interesting three years there.

Back in Fife she taught at St Andrews High School in Kirkcaldy and Kirkcaldy High School, where she was Head of Home Economics until she retired. Living in Lundin Links, she pursued her many interests. She maintained her links with Guiding and was invited by Fife Guides to ‘cut the cake’ marking the Centenary of Guiding in 2009 - she must have been a member of the movement for at least 75 of those 100 years.

Afflicted by severe arthritis, she had to move to a care home in Edinburgh. There she was nearer other family members, which she enjoyed. She is survived by her sisters, Jean (qv), Christine and Rosemary.

(Contributed by her sister Rosemary)

Alexander Boyd

The Sunday Telegraph Magazine published an interview with William Boyd, the well-known author, in February 2012. The interview, which was conducted by Mick Brown, contained some information about his late father, Sandy Boyd, a Bell Baxter FP.

‘Boyd's father, he recounted, was a specialist in tropical medicine who moved to Ghana in 1950 to run the health clinic at the University of Legon in Accra. Ghana is whereBoyd, who has two younger sisters, was born, but in the early 1960s, when the countrygained independence, the family moved to Western Nigeria, where Boyd's father held asimilar position at the University of Abadan. Within a few years, Nigeria would be enveloped in the Biafran War. “He thought Nigeria would be safer", Boyd says. “Twomilitary coups and a civil war later he realised he was wrong.”

‘Boyd remembers his early childhood as idyllic: a pampered colonial existence of servants, nannies and cooks, and lazy days at the beach and poolside at the club. From the age of nine his life was spent shuttling backwards and forwards between Africa, which he regarded as home, and Scotland- firstly at prep school and then the Spartan regime of Gordonstoun. “Like penal servitude,” Boyd remembers. The Prince of Wales was there at the same time. “I happen to know, from his own lips, that he utterly detested it.” Head of his house, academically clever and good at games. Boyd was happy enough. “But I did begin to hanker for real life.”

‘Leaving school, he spent a year at university in Nice, “re-educating myself,” before going on to gain a first in English at Glasgow University, and then to Oxford, where he studied for a PhD on Shelley (later abandoned) and tutored at St Hilda's on the Romantic poets. By then he had made up his mind to be a writer. An “avid but unsophisticated” reader as boy, he had devoured his father's green-jacketed Penguin detective novels - Maigret and Peter Cheyney.

But it was the novels of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene (whose influence weighs particularly heavily on Boyd's early books) that were to be his formative inspiration. “The Heart of the Matter, which is set in west Africa, had a massive effect. I remember reading Greene's description of dusk in the tropics and thinking, ‘Yes, that's right. So this is how it works.’ And John Updike's Couples, which I read on a flight from London to Lagos, thinking, ‘So this is what adult life is like.’”

‘Boyd's father had wanted him to follow the family path of stolid, middle-class respectability - a career in medicine, engineering or dentistry, “something with a proper pension”, and was “highly sceptical” of Boyd's ambition to be a writer. He died when Boyd was 26 of a rare disease, Q fever, contracted in Africa, by which time Boyd had already completed a first novel - never published - and seen a couple of short stories published in literary magazines.

‘His debut novel, A Good Man in Africa, was published in 1982, three years after his father's death. In an act of filial tribute, Boyd used him as the model for the doctor Alex Murray, a paragon of Presbyterian moral rectitude whom the hapless junior diplomat anti-hero Morgan tries, and fails, to bribe: “When you met Murray all the shabby moral evasions that made your life, all the grey zones of questionable behaviour, the whole sad compendium of self-regarding acts suddenly stood up to be counted.”

‘Boyd says it is an abiding regret that his father didn't live to see his literary success – “or that I wasn't able to say ‘See. I told you so.’” His mother is still alive, fit and well in her eighties. “I asked her a few years ago, had he lived until he was 70 - by which time I would have published five or six novels and written four films - how do you think we would have got on? And she said. ‘I think it would have been very difficult.’” Boyd laughs.

‘His father dying when Boyd was relatively young imbued him with an awareness of the precarious state of existence, he says. “What early bereavement does is tell you that your present happiness, whatever it may be, is incredibly fragile, and it takes very little for that to be shattered irrevocably. And I think if you do realise that, you go through life with a totally different point of view.”’

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