Bell baxter lives section I former Pupils Contents



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Bryony Nicol


Bryony Nicol played one of the Ugly Sisters in the 2002 School Pantomime, Cinderella.

Elizabeth H Nicol


Mrs Elizabeth Martin entered BBS in 1916. A retired Infant Teacher, she spent her final years at Pitlair Private Nursing Home at the Bow of Fife.

George Nicol


George Nicol entered BBS in 1938. After leaving School he worked for LNER/BR from 1941-62. He also served in the Royal Navy (1944-47). He attended St Andrews University from 1963-66 and graduated MA. He taught at Glenwood High School, Glenrothes from 1967-88. He retired to Ladybank.

John Nicol


John Nicol (1964) and his wife Anne, who have farmed at Berryhill, near Newburgh, have taken the decision many farming families are now taking, to turn their hand to something very different. On a visit in 1999 to Poland, they were impressed by the quality of the hand-crafted reproduction antique furniture they were seeing and they decided that there might be a niche for it in this country. They are also setting up a trailer sales and hire business. They already have a successful trout fishery, The Golden Loch, beside the farm.

Robert Scot Nicol


Robert Nicol entered BBS in 1934. He enlisted as an Aircraft Apprentice in the Royal Air Force in August 1939 and retired with the rank of squadron leader in October 1977. He served in Iceland, Egypt, Singapore, Borneo and Kenya. He lived in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

Andrew Nisbet


Andrew Nisbet died at the end of October 1995, after a long period of declining health. Andrew was the Janitor in Bell Baxter (Westfield Road), and, as a native of Cupar, he was also a former pupil.

Elizabeth H Niven


Elizabeth Niven started at BBS in 1928. She qualified in Clerical work and spent periods of her life in the Women's Auxiliary Police Corps, as a Police Officer (the first WPC to be appointed in Fife); Youth Leader with the YWCA; Probation Officer for North and East Fife and Social Worker.


Robert Noakes


(1947-

BBHS 1959-64

Robert ("Rab") Noakes, who was head of entertainment at BBC Scotland for 8 years, resigned in 1995 to set up his own production company. He will be reverting to his folk-singer persona as Rab Noakes. He was a very popular entertainer until his appointment to the BBC post.

As a prolific singer-songwriter, Rab has released a dozen albums and toured extensively; he now combines this with eclectic activities at Neon. In recent years he has been involved in a rich mixture of production, writing and performance.

2007 saw the release of Unlimited Mileage, Rab's second album with the Varaflames. In 2008, Neon released Rab's first album from 1970, Do You See The Lights? on CD for the first time.

Rab tries to get on the road as a performer at least once a year, either with harmonica player Fraser Speirs, or solo. As well as a helping of original Noakes material, they play a rich mixture of Blues & Country with some interesting interpretations of hard-to-access contemporary material.

The first record on the Neon label to become available was "Throwing Shapes" by The Varaflames. That was followed up with the Rab and Fraser release, "Lights Back On", an album that's won him many new admirers. A limited edition release of the "Stuffhouse EP" has made 750 numbered copies of this future rarity available.

"Demos and Rarities Volume One" was released in 2002. Neon partner and Rab's wife, Stephanie Pordage, volunteered to go through the many hours of his demo recordings and dug out the best and most appropriate material from 1969.

River Records released an album of Rab's recordings made for Radio Clyde in the early 1980's and late in 2004 Neon reissued Rab's acclaimed 1994 solo album 'Standing Up'.

Rab Noakes is a force to be reckoned with in the world of music in Scotland and beyond.

A recent preview piece in The Herald went thus:

Not that you would know it from his lean rock’n’roll physique but Rab Noakes is now in his sixties. His four decades of involvement in music have been marked by two recent releases: a second album with his occasional band The Varaflames, titled Unlimited Mileage, and the release on CD for the first time of his debut album Do You See The Lights? which first saw the light of day in 1970. Showcasing an exemplary taste in covers alongside his own songwriting, a Noakes show is a decidedly non-fusty lesson in the history of popular music.

2010 sees the release of no less than three new albums from Rab. One is a live one from Edinburgh in 2005. One is a collection of songs by Boudleaux & Felice Bryant and the other Standing Up Again is a new collection from 2009.

Rab's first album was released in 1970. Thirty years later in the year 2000, Rab formed his own record label and released a couple of new releases.  In the intervening years Rab Noakes has made his presence felt as a creative entity across music and media.  From being one of the singer-songwriters of the 1970s to his present activities with Neon Productions he has released eleven albums and toured extensively. The once sought-after hit single remained elusive but didn't impede his progress.  In recent years he has been involved in a rich mixture of production, writing and performance. 

Before he and his wife Stephanie Pordage set up Neon in 1995 he spent an eight-year spell as a BBC employee where he ran the radio music and entertainment shows in Scotland. A formal job in radio was appropriate as the radio had played a major part in Noakes' creative development from an early age.

Born in 1947 Rab Noakes enjoyed the benefits of growing up as rock'n'roll was born and of being present as new sounds - from Little Richard to Woody Guthrie drifted across the Atlantic.

Impressed by the success of Scots Bert Jansch and The Incredible String Band he dusted down an old guitar and began touring in Britain and Denmark with a set embracing pop, country and folk. Prior to the release of his first album in 1970 five Noakes songs appeared on albums by Archie Fisher and Barbara Dickson.

A relationship with Gerry Rafferty has continued since Noakes was a founder member of Stealers Wheel. Noakes played guitar on one of Rafferty's recent albums, Over my Head.

Lindisfarne and Rab met in the North East of England when they were each playing regularly in that part of the world. The group demonstrated its respect for Rab by recording one of his songs on each of their first two albums.  They also shared a producer in Bob Johnston who had introduced Bob Dylan to working in Nashville with the Blonde on Blonde record. Noakes himself recorded in Nashville with acclaimed producer Elliot Mazer. The resulting album Red Pump Special remains a collectors' item and is cited as an influence by several young upstarts.

Noakes worked with Terry Melcher at Lennon's Tittenhurst Park on an album for Ringo Starr's record label.

In the eighties Noakes teamed up with some young Glaswegian musicians including Brendan Moon, Lorraine McIntosh and Andy Alston to form Gene Pitney's Birthday. Into the 'nineties this grew into The Varaflames whose members have included harmonica ace Fraser Speirs, Rod Clements of Lindisfarne, guitar ace Jerry Donahue, Deacon Blue's Ewen Vernal and Pick Withers of Dire Straits.

Rab Noakes has also been involved with some high-profile music production activity on shows such as John Byrne's Your Cheatin' Heart and Elaine C. Smith's TV series. Neon continues to provide quality TV and radio programmes from its base in Glasgow's Kinning Park. The unique knowledge and abilities in the Neon team continue to give the programmes an edge.

As we carry on into the 21st century Rab Noakes is preparing to go on the road with Fraser Speirs. They now work together often and have developed a unique act which covers a broad range of popular styles. As well as a handsome helping of original Noakes material they play a rich mixture of Blues, Country and Pop that reflects a lasting love of popular music as popular culture. He also plans to record and release a number of albums and to make a few appearances with the current Varaflames line up of Jim McDermott, David Paton, Colin Macfarlane and Fraser Speirs.

The first record on the Neon label to become available was 'Throwing Shapes' by The Varaflames. That was followed up with Rab and Fraser releasing a new album, 'Lights back on', an album sure to win him many new admirers. The strong mix of carefully selected versions of others' songs paired with Noakes's own eloquent compositions have helped create one of the best albums to come out of Scotland in years.

A limited edition release of the 'stuffhouse ep' has made 750 numbered copies of this future rarity available.  'Demos and Rarities Volume One' was released in 2002. Neon partner and Rab's wife, Stephanie Pordage volunteered to go through the many hours of recordings and has dug out the best and most appropriate material.

Noakes' own record production skills have been much in demand with albums by John Watt and macAlias being released and well-received. In 2003 he recorded with a young group from Aberdeen called Stuka. Fraser Speir's album, 'About Time', was recorded at Glasgow's Celtic Connections festival in 2000 and features guest performances from many artistes, Rab included.

In 2004 Neon expanded to release Karine Polwart's 'faultlines' album produced by Rab. Later in the year Neon released two more Rab productions 'At this Moment' by Karen Dunbar and 'Thai Whisky Tears' by The Cellers.

2004 also saw the Neon release of 'Standing Up', Rab's solo album originally issued on the Mediart label in 1994. Also that year, the River Records label released a CD comprising mostly live recordings made for commercial radio in the early eighties.

Rab's 2007 release of new material on Neon was his second album with the Varaflames - ''Unlimited Mileage'

‘Do you see the lights?’ Rab's debut album from 1970 is now available on CD for the first time. This was released on the Neon label in 2008.

Having sat on the Scottish Arts Council for four years Rab was appointed to the Joint Board of SAC & Scottish Screen in 2006. Rab is also elected Chair of the Executive Committee of the Musicians' Union.

Here a couple more recent press quotes:

Legendary Scottish singer-songwriter Rab Noakes has announced an upcoming live solo show on Saturday. The show promises to be an incredible opportunity for lovers of roots and folk music to experience a truly mesmerising living legend at work.

“Catchy melodies and gritty lyrics that speak for everyman.” BBC Radio Scotland

His intense and compelling style always works its magic on audiences and never fails to inspire. It would be easy to compare Rab's guitar work to that of 1960s artists such as Jansch and Fred Neil, however it is his own unique vocal and intelligent turn of phrase that have kept him at the cutting edge of songwriting for the best part of thirty-five years.

The following piece is taken from a list of prominent Fifers (FP100) published by the Fife Free Press Group.

RAB Noakes has enjoyed a career in music which spans over three decades. The St Andrews born singer-songwriter has recorded numerous albums under his own name as well as being a founder member of Stealers Wheel with Gerry Rafferty. His songs have also been recorded by Lindisfarne, Barbara Dickson and Archie Fisher, and he has produced music for records, television and radio. For eight years he was employed by the BBC where he was head of radio music for Scotland. In 2000, already 30 years into a fruitful career in music, he set up his own record label, which has released CDs by the likes of folk star Karine Polwart. His occasional band The Varaflames has a varying line-up which has included harmonica ace Fraser Speirs, Rod Clements of Lindisfarne, guitar ace Jerry Donahue, Deacon Blue's Ewen Vernal and Pick Withers of Dire Straits. Throughout his career Noakes has made his presence felt as a creative entity across music and media.

Read more at www.rabnoakes.com




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