A Step Back in Time - Merchistonian News
A New Beginning - Merchistonian News
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The Merchistonian Club Newsletter
27 November 2020
A Step Back in Time - Merchistonian News

Merchiston Sport

For those interested in following the School sports teams, the full fixtures list can be found here.

Sports Desk

Lest we forget

When a sense of community has never been more important, it was very special to know that so many of you joined us in watching our pre-recorded Whole School Service for Remembrance. If you missed the service you can still watch it - click below.

Remembrance Service

The Vertical Marathon

We were very impressed to hear of Fergus Crawley's (10-14)  most recent charity endurance challenge. To raise funds for men's health as part of Movember, Fergus captained a team that completed a vertical marathon; climbing Ben Nevis 32 times over the course of 10 days, finishing at 11am on 11 November 20 to honour Remembrance Day. What an achievement.

Read more and support Fergus here.

Fully booked

It is now 20 years since the opening of the Spawforth Library. The photo on the left was taken when the library first opened and the photo on the right was taken today, not much has changed over the years.


Although, for those that don't know, the Spawforth Library used to be the School gym and was once the music auditorium. 

You can follow the Spawforth Library's Twitter feed here.

Click here to see more photos

THAT win

We are delighted that Philip Rossiter (Director of Music 85-10, Housemaster 93-19) is helping us out in the archives.

Now that we are moving in to the rugby season Philip thought that this would be a good photo to share with you all. When Scotland won the Calcutta Cup for the first time in 10 years and Andy Nicol stopped by to meet some of the 1XV.

Lister Knobbly

Marcus MacLean's (57-61) mention of the Lister Knobbly in the September newsletter evoked memories for Michael Pancheri (61-66).

"I am sure many people, especially of my generation, will know that a Lister Knobbly is the nickname for the Jaguar-engine sports cars built by Brian Lister in the 1950s, and which were campaigned most successfully by the late, great Archie Scott Brown (42-45), surely one of Merchiston's most distinguished alumni.


Read more here

Anyone for Herring?

Iain Wright (60-65) has just written a book on Old Carradale, which is a small village on the east Kintyre coast looking towards Arran and just north of Campbeltown. It has been famous for herring fishing in the Firth of Clyde for hundreds of years, but only a small number of boats now trawl for shellfish and prawns. The village was an attractive port for the Clyde steamers, when regular annual visitors came as tourists and who continue to arrive for the challenging golf course, the walking routes and the various bars and restaurants. Read an article from the Campbeltown Courier here.

The softback book has 60 pages, covering the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, each with a fully descriptive caption. Signed copies can be ordered from i.wright237@btinternet.com  at a cost of £10.95, postage is free.

Read more here

Annual Burns Supper in Sydney

The NSW (Sydney) Watsonian Club, has extended an invitation to those of you living within the New South Wales area to join their Annual Burns Supper.

"It would be super to have alumni from all Edinburgh schools join us for this wonderful annual event. You can keep up to date on this and any future events by joining the 'Edinburgh Schools' Sydney' Facebook page.

The NSW Watsonian Club invites you to join us for our Annual Burns Supper :
On : Saturday 30 January 2021
At : The Occidental Hotel, York Street, Sydney CBD.
RSVP : trish@stevensons.com.au

Effortless Scheduling

Congratulations to Taras Lanchev (10-15) who has been awarded "Startup of the Year" for his new company, 'Calbot' at the Leeds Digital Festival.

'Calbot allows people to find free meeting slots between them automatically, without endless emails between everyone. One person can waste 15-17 minutes scheduling just one meetings, and that's time that adds up'

You can read an interview with Taras below.

Read more

Scientist at Work

Grant Neilson (09-15) can now say that he is a published scientist!

While working in the Complex Disease Epigenetics Team at the University of Exeter Medical School, Grant researched how a new epigenetic clock could shed light on how swiftly people's brains age and how prone they are to diseases like Alzheimer's.

You can read an article on Grant's work in the Telegraph here. To read Grant's paper please click on the link below.

Click here

Tails of The Wise Gardener and His Friend Jack Frost

Ken Houston, familiar to generations of Merchistonians, whose Merchiston career spanned 36 years at Merchiston from 1965 until 2001, has just produced a children's story book entitled "Tails of the Wise Gardener and his Friend Jack Frost". It contains 27 short tales, beautifully illustrated, ideal for families with young children.

Read more and order your copy here


Having previously played rugby for Ireland, during his time at Merchiston, Ken taught Physics, coached the 1XV, was Housemaster of Rogerson East for many years, and was finally Second Master/Deputy Head. He and his wife, Jean, were also in charge of preparing boys for their Highland Balls, a passion they have maintained since retirement though running the Colinton Reel Club, and organising its charity Highland Balls.

Ken's book costs £6.50, which includes the cost of packing and postage. £2 per book sold will be donated to Samaritans.

Slice of Home

Jack Guthrie (08-15) and friend, Guy Sutherland, have recently started their own company, providing vending machines stocked with tasty Asian snacks in private student accommodations.

'Our machines offer a wide range of alternative snacks and drinks that will help international students feel at home in their accommodation.'

Follow their progress on LinkedIn here.

A Fresh Start

Robin Macpherson (91-97), head of Robert Gordon's has written a great blog looking at the lessons learned in his journey so far and his family's return to Aberdeen. Click below to read more, including Robin's fantastic take on Aberdeen being regarded as a village.

Read Robin's Blog

Captain Jack and the Furious Few

A gifted pilot and head-hunted by the navy as a teenager, Belfast born John Milligan McCleery (11-14) was at the forefront of wartime aviation technology and despite the dangers, he bravely put himself at great risk. BBC 4 produced a documentary on the life of John who was one of the pioneers of a secret programme that would change the nature of warfare forever: the development of the first aircraft carrier.

Jack is in the back row, 4th from the right.

Read more and watch the documentary here

Careers' Cafe

Thank you to George Cockburn (58-63) and Teddy Bonfield (06-12)  and Johnny Tam (05-13)  for each hosting a careers cafĂ© in November.

George, Managing Partner at Shelve Strategic, is kindly extending his offer of support to recent leavers: 

"Having recently given some help to sixth formers, I am very willing to extend this offer to any recent school leaver who might like to benefit from assistance in seeking a new job opportunity."

Plans are starting to be put in place for the 2021 Merchiston Careers' Convention, it is likely that this will be a virtual event. Please get in touch  if you are interested in finding out more about how you could get involved.

Click here

Edinburgh Rugby

Congratulations to Dan Gamble (16-19)  as he becomes the latest Merchistonian to play professional rugby.

"When Dan Gamble came on midway through the second half of Edinburgh Rugby's crucial Guinness PRO14 victory over Cardiff Blues in November he became the latest Merchiston Castle former pupil to make his mark in professional rugby."

Thanks to Scottish Rugby/SNS for the image of Dan Gamble

We are also very proud of Dan Nutton (05-15) who has penned his first professional contract with Edinburgh Rugby. Read more here.




Read Gary Heatly's article on Dan Gamble here.

Ready Ay Ready for your Christmas Orders

This weekend marks the final day of ordering for the next merchandise batch order and your last chance to order this year, be quick if you don't want to wait until next year to place an order! 

Make an order

Amusing Anecdotes

The response to George Cockburn's (58-63) request for amusing anecdotes has been wonderful and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed. However, given the pressures of trying to get this printed and published before Christmas is too much of a risk, thus the Final publication will be delayed until the spring of this year. .

That's all for this week's newsletter.

Keep your eyes out for Merchiston's Christmas Service which we look forward to sharing with you mid-December. As always, we hope you have enjoyed reading and if you have any stories of your own, please do get in touch!
Best wishes

0131 312 2237 | www.merchistonians.co.uk | merchistonians@merchiston.co.uk
Merchiston Castle School, 294 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH13 0PU

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