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Old School Chums – Reunited

Scotland on Sunday 18 September 2005

By Simon Walton

Angus Young, a rock guitarist, still pulls on his school uniform, at an age when few of us feel we have to go further than wearing the school tie to publicly demonstrate our fealty. Former pupils networks have always existed, but now internet communications makes the whole job so much more achievable, if not less arduous.

“Certainly, it’s not any easier,” says Lindsay Wilson, who has been working for the past year, trying to locate many of the 1200 former pupils of the little known Edinburgh school, Scotus Academy, which closed in 1977.

“Scotus never did have a former pupils association and, when it closed, we very quickly lost touch with almost everyone. There was no such thing as email then. Since computerising our records this year though, we’ve managed to locate over 300 addresses for former pupils. We’ve established a web presence, and even digitised the school magazine. It is beginning to take off.”

Other, larger and longer lived schools have, for many decades, had FP networks in place. Some, like Stewart’s Melville, have survived mergers and reinvented themselves in the guise of the new school. Edinburgh Accies, the Academy FP's sporting club, has a healthy tradition and history to help bind its members together. Founded in 1906, the Albyn Former Pupils’ Club in Aberdeen still organises a range of social and fundraising activities, and encourages continued involvement into adult life. That’s a lead followed by Beaconhurst at Bridge of Allan, where the school follows the American model of seeking continuing involvement with its FPs, particularly for development aims.

Lindsay Wilson’s task in that matter is made more difficult by the demise of the school, and no focal point for contact. However, he is planning a first ever reunion later this year. “Beechwood House is still there, it’s now part of Murrayfield Hospital, so we can still meet at the old school.”

While the schools, and social life, benefit from FP networks, there is growing importance in networking as a valid reason for remaining in touch. With business turning more and more on the strength of a contact book, former pupils make ideal business contacts – unless potential clients recall errant behaviour involving pig tails and ink wells.

“All I want to do is get guys at school to talk to each other again,” says Lindsay Wilson. “It’s been quite amazing to hear what everyone is doing, and where they are now, all over the world.”

It remains to be seen whether any Scotus Academy FPs have become rock guitarists, but at least one has become a man of letters. Scotus was, after all, where this correspondent was taught the basics of how to properly read and rite.

Scotus Academy Inaugural Reunion is at the former school, Beechwood House, 122 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh, on Friday, 28 October. Contact Lindsay Wilson, Scotus Academy FP, on 0131 339 3792 or lindsaywilson@blueyonder.co.uk

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