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Tranquility till September

After a heady mixture of prize giving, pipe band renditions of Highland Cathedral, which brought a tear to every eye, and even some sunshine amidst the rolling thunder and torrential rain, tranquillity has descended on the Merchiston campus for the summer.

First to Prizegiving, our congratulations go to Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Wearmouth (86-90) who continues to enjoy an annus mirabilis by receiving the Merchistonian Award to add to add to his OBE in recognition of his work to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Graeme and his team were deployed to support the Mission's key objective of defeating Al Shabaab's violent and prolonged insurgency campaign in Somalia. To paraphrase his OBE citation Graeme's contribution, and that of his team, was extraordinary given the extremely dangerous, isolated, complicated and challenging conditions.

If the boys at the Friday prizegiving were enthralled by Graeme's exploits, the audience at the Saturday prizegiving were similarly impressed by our CBE recipient Major General Ranald Munro (73-78), Deputy Commander Land Forces (Reserves) who delivered a punchy Prizegiving speech with a 10 point plan for the boys to succeed in life including paying attention to parents, teachers and elders!

Golf Secretary Rob Forman (84-89) is delighted to announce that this year's Autumn Meeting is being held on 12 September at Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society in Edinburgh. You are invited to arrive at 12 noon, and in a change to the usual format, there will be a BBQ Lunch at 12.30pm followed by a Shotgun Start at 2.30 pm. A reception and dinner will follow. Please
book early here.

Fun facts about the Games! Last week's piece about the Games resonated with many Merchistonians who were able to partly fill in the missing pieces of the previous Games records! Ian B Sloan (68-73) recalled that the long jump record was set by Martin D Scott (68-72), a precocious young athlete and prolific breaker of records that year.

Which reminded him that the following year, the Captain of Athletics, Alistair Letham (68-73) was strongly fancied as that year's winner in the 400 metres against the Academy, until they unleashed a certain Roger Jenkins who won by 40 metres!

Rennie McConnochie (75-80) remembers with a smile on his face, watching Graeme Lobban (75-80) setting that previous discus record. We love to hear your reminiscences so please keep them coming in.

Not sure that a photo from 2014 counts as a reminiscence, but we loved the
image sent in by Douglas Abram (00-05) of a trip to the Cayman Islands with many of his Merchiston contemporaries. Perhaps an inspiration to others, as we love to know what you are up to!

And speaking of inspiration, who better to turn to than Steve Biggart (96-03), recovering from cancer, and his co-riders Ross McClymont (00-02) and David Kirkpatrick (97-03) who completed a gruelling 6 day charity cycle ride from Barcelona to Biarritz. Steve raised over £6,000 for his chosen charity, Maggie's Centres. Find out more
here.

We are very grateful to enthusiastic Merchistonians , the Cox family , who supported a visit to California last week, by members of the School's Academic Leadership team, Will Clayton and Stephen Campbell. The team made important connections with a range of prestigious universities, as part of the development of collaborations which will benefit future Merchistonians. They met with several Merchistonians on the way, who offered a keen insight on how the School can build on its reputation, in California, including Qi Yang (05-07), currently doing a Physics PhD at Stanford. Our
photo shows Qi and Mackenzie, with Will and Stephen.

Proof, if any were needed, that you do read my newsletter, came from Ian Gordon Hall Dun (63-68) and Charles Maclean (67-72) who will be putting out the welcome mat for Gavin Reid (01-06) in Rio de Janeiro, and Albany, Western Austalia, as Gavin makes land during the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, mentioned last week. Thank you both!

On the hottest day of the year, we enjoyed a visit from Angus Cartwright (67-80) and Grant A McGillan (77-81), accompanied by Grant's wife Mahdieh, who were rather bemused by our complaints about the searing heat! Nothing compared to the temperatures reached in South Africa where Grant now lives and in Mahdieh's native Iran. The strangest things bring our Merchistonians to the UK - Grant had been re-living his youth at an AC/DC concert the night before in Glasgow which meant the walking tour was more of a hobble for him!
Photo is of Grant and Angus enjoying the sunshine.

A reminder to all of you looking back over 60 years. There will be a 1954-56 60 year Reunion Dinner organised by John Rigg (55-59) at the New Club in Edinburgh on Saturday, 14 November at 7 pm. Please join us!

Since last week's newsletter there has been a spike in bookings for the Merchiston Gala Ball so we would urge you to book as soon as possible. It has been a good week too for securing some fantastic auction prizes, so please join us for a wonderful evening at the Sheraton Grand Hotel on Friday 2 October.

This is my last piece of prose until August, that's not to say I am away until then, so please keep sending the news. Have a wonderful summer!

Kind regards,

Jane




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