Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents

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Jean Gordon

Mrs Jean Drysdale (nee Gordon) (1942) died after a long illness on 20th September 2003 in the Adamson Hospital. After she let School she worked in the Motor Taxation Office. From there she went to work as a Secretary in the offices of Houston's Iron Foundry. Jean is survived by her husband Sandy and one son and one daughter.

Margaret G Gordon

BBS 1947-53

Margaret Gordon of Sunnyside Freuchie topped the open bursary list in 1953 and was given a Simson Bursary to St Andrews University.

Margaret (now Mrs Klein) wrote from Tennessee (in connection with a reunion of the Class of ’47 held on 23 August 1997) and mentioned the 1951 trip to Switzerland with Sandy Ad. It appears that Margaret kept a detailed (her underlining) diary of the trip. Should make interesting reading! She also explained the problem she has had in explaining to people in Tennessee that the 50 year reunion(s) date from the year of entry into first year, not the year of graduation.

After leaving School Margaret was a teacher in Edinburgh and New Zealand, before becoming a Copy Editor in New York City. Proving that it is never too late to make a fresh start, she took a law degree in the early 80s, and has been a lawyer in Knoxville, Tennesee since then.

Her brother David (qv) still lives in Freuchie.

Peter Gordon

Peter Gordon started at BBS in 1944. After leaving School he attended Edinburgh University and became a general medical practitioner in Currie, Midlothian.

David Gourley

David Gourley (1983) was appointed in 2003 team leader in Science at Kingsway campus in Dundee, where there is a strong commitment to Bioscience, a new laboratory having been opened last year. Previously David gained a PhD from the Institute of Biomedical and Life Science in Glasgow. He had earlier worked with the Wellcome Trust in Dundee and with the biotech company Pantheric in Glasgow, where he was employed with the drug design team for 3 years.

Mary W Gover

Mrs Mary Watt entered BBS in 1947. After leaving School she trained as a physiotherapist and lived in Kidmore End, near Reading.

Shirley Gover

Mrs Shirley Brand started at BBS in 1942. She became a State Registered Nurse and Midwife and lived in Kirkcaldy.

Scott Grade

Scott Grade (1994) died aged 23, following a road accident on 17th December 2005. Scott was being driven home from a Christmas party when the car crashed. He was a retained fireman in Newburgh. He had other interests, particularly bowling and football. He had been due to play for East Fife Indoor Bowling Club two days after the accident. He had represented Scotland at Junior level and with a partner he won the Fife Pairs Championship in 2005. He used to play also for Newburgh Juveniles Football Club.

Alistair Graham


BBHS 1956-62

Alistair Graham died in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee in August 2013 following a long illness.

Alistair was a keen gymnast at School. He also won the annual Burns Prize awarded in third year English.

He joined the Royal Air Force and became a Physical Training Instructor. He was subsequently selected for aircrew training and became an Air Loadmaster and rose to the rank of warrant officer as a Master Air Loadmaster on TriStar aircraft.

Eilidh Graham

Eilidh Graham left school in the early part of Session 2003-4. Together with another FP, Kitty Aitken, she spent 3 months in Sri Lanka, from February to the beginning of May 2005. They were working in a special needs orphanage, a camp for tsunami victims catering for 65 families and helping with various building projects. They felt the 3 months were not long enough and they now hope to raise funds to send money back for some of the projects they worked on. They felt they had learned to not to take things for granted, impressed as they were by the zest for life displayed by the young people there, despite their poverty.

Evaline J W Graham

Evaline (Mrs Mercer) started at BBS in 1928. She worked in the Cupar Law Office of Rollo, Davidson & McFarlane.

James Graham

Jimmy Graham came to Bell Baxter in fourth year from Tayport in 1955. He joined the staff of D C Thomson as a sub-editor on children's publications on leaving School. He began with the Rover and worked later on a number of other boys' and girls' papers until 1992, when he began to work on Commando. His principal hobby is music, and he was a founder member of the Thomson Leng Musical Society, taking part in many productions with that company and with Tayport Musical Society. He was until recently organist of Wormit Church. He retired in 2004 and was looking forward to pursuing his interest in photography and to travelling.

David Grant

David Grant started at BBS in 1945. He became a technician and lived in Falkland.

Sheila Grant

Mrs Sheila Turnbull entered third year at BBS in 1943. She went into teaching and was head teacher at Flisk and Creich schools. She lived in Wormit.

Struan F A Grant

BBHS 1981-7

Struan featured on the front page of the New York Times in 2006 for discovering the main gene for Type 2 diabetes. To date, this is still considered the most significant genetic finding for this disease. Here is an extract from the article, written by Nicholas Wade and published on 16th January 2006:

Scientists have discovered a variant gene that leads to a sizable extra risk of Type 2 diabetes and is carried by more than a third of the American population.

The finding is being reported today in the journal Nature Genetics by researchers at Decode Genetics, a company in Reykjavik, Iceland, that specializes in finding the genetic roots of human diseases. Decode Genetics first found the variant gene - one of many different versions that exist in the human population - in Icelanders and has now confirmed the finding in a Danish and an American population.

An immediate practical consequence of the discovery, said Decode's chief executive, Kari Stefansson, would be to develop a diagnostic test to identify people who carry the variant gene. If people knew of their extra risk, they would have an incentive to stay thin and exercise, he said.

Because people carry two copies of every gene, one inherited from each parent, the risk conferred by the new gene depends on whether one or two copies of it have been inherited. The estimated 38 percent of Americans who have inherited a single copy have a 45 percent greater risk of Type 2 than do unaffected members of the population. The estimated 7 percent who carry two copies are 141 percent more likely to develop the disease, according to the Decode researchers, who were led by Struan F. A. Grant.

The finding is ‘a beautiful piece of work and as convincing as any initial publication could be,’ said David Altshuler, a medical geneticist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who has in the past taken issue with certain aspects of Decode's claims.

"In terms of the epidemiological risk of diabetes, this is by far the biggest finding to date," he said, just after hearing a lecture on the finding by Augustine Kong, Decode's chief statistician. Diabetes is thought to be caused by a variety of different genes, each conferring a risk for the disease. Because most of the variants exert a minor effect, they are hard to detect, and many claims to have found diabetes-causing genes have turned out to be unfounded.

The new variant identified by Decode was of a somewhat obscure gene that had not been suspected of having any involvement in diabetes. The gene, designated TCF7L2, is one that controls the activity of other genes. Its role may include setting the level of a hormone that acts along with insulin to control blood sugar levels.

Struan also sent us the following information to flesh out his biography:

I joined Bell Baxter in 1981(ish) during my first year, after moving from Glenshee where I was at Blairgowrie High School to start with - we moved to Giffordtown, just outside Ladybank. What I excelled at turned out to be in biology and chemistry - I ended up getting 8 O'Grades, 6 Highers and 3 Sixth Year Studies. I never won any prizes and I was terrible at anything to do with sport!!! But I was a monitor in 3rd year but didn't make the cut for prefect!!

I then did my degree at the University of Aberdeen - BSc in Genetics - then became a trainee Chartered Accountant with the firm KPMG in Aberdeen. I hated it and lasted there for only 3 months - accountancy was definitely for me! I then managed to get a PhD place at the University of Aberdeen medical school - it took me three years to earn my PhD, during which time I discovered one of the main genes that increases a women's risk of osteoporosis. Just as I was leaving for Australia to carry out my post-doctoral work in 1996, I met my future wife – Birgit, who is German - we spent years in a long distance relationship but eventually married in 2006 (we also now have a 3 year old daughter who is a US citizen as she was born in Philadelphia).

In 1998 I moved to Iceland to work for a company called deCODE Genetics. We collected the DNA from the majority of adult Icelanders and tied up their genetic information with the vast genealogical records of the country. The company ended up finding many genes that underlie most of the common diseases in society. I was fortunate enough to uncover the most significantly associated gene for type 2 diabetes – this got extensive media coverage, including being featured on the front page of the New York Times; in fact I was the corresponding author on the scientific paper, so you can only imagine how fast my email inbox filled up!!!!

In 2006, we moved to the USA, where I am a faculty member of both the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (ranked #1 children’s hospital in the USA) and the University of Pennsylvania medical school (part of the ‘Ivy League’). We have the mission of figuring out the genes that cause disease in childhood. We have been somewhat successful in various areas, including for type 1 diabetes, neuroblastoma, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease – but our flagship finding to date has been the uncovering of the first genes for autism, which was named by ‘Time’ magazine as one the top ten major breakthroughs of 2009.

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