It Feels Like Forever - Merchistonian News
A New Beginning - Merchistonian News
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The Merchistonian Club Newsletter
2 October 2020
It Feels Like Forever - Merchistonian News

Merchiston Sport

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

Sports Desk

We cannot believe that so much time has passed and so much has happened in the world since our last newsletter way back in March! That said, it is an absolute pleasure to be back on campus and to be able to see the boys and staff enjoying so much of what Merchiston has to offer. I do hope that, by now, you will have received the recent letter from the Headmaster detailing some changes with the Club and we really do hope that these will still give the same service to you but just in a slightly different way. Do please keep your news stories and articles coming so we can ensure we have lots of information to cascade out.

Dystel Prize Winner 2020

We are delighted to announce that our 2017 Merchistonian Award winner, Ian Duncan (61-66) has been awarded the 2020 Dystel Prize for MS research. The Dystel Prize recognises outstanding contributions to research in the understanding, treatment or prevention of multiple sclerosis.

"This year's John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research goes to Ian D. Duncan, a neuroscientist and Professor of Neurology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for ground-breaking research on how myelin (the protective nerve coating in the brain and spinal cord) is damaged, particularly in multiple sclerosis (MS), and how it may be repaired." .

More info...

Vibrant Arms

Philip Reid (13-18) had a lovely small Merchiston reunion at the East India Club, with John Robertson (13-18), Cameron Cosh (11-18) and Patrick Rom (12-18). "We spent quite a while trying to find the Merchiston Coat of Arms on the stairwell, eventually we did; it does look rather different to one we were used to at School! We thought we would share the photo we captured of us trying to get as close to as possible the Coat of Arms!"

East India Club

Piping in Honour

How many of you dusted off the pipes during lockdown? We were sent a great clip of Robin Watt (95-97) who played in honour of his wife's grandfather, Kenneth Macaskill, who was captured at St Valery and was held in a German POW camp for the rest of the war.

Watch Robin on Twitter

Cutting-edge Skills

Raphael Hermann (08-10), now an archaeologist at the University of Göttingen, has published a ground-breaking study on Bronze Age sword fighting. Dr Hermann's research has received worldwide media attention in such high-profile newspapers as 'The Times', 'Science' and the 'Smithsonian Magazine'. The research article, which details how the earliest sword fighting was conducted and how it spread throughout Europe, is available for free here.

Raphael's research article

The Boy in the Train

Did you know that the well-known Scots poem written in 1913 "The Boy in the Train" was written by Mary Campbell Smith who was the wife of the Headmaster, George Smith? George and Mary had a holiday home in Fife at the time and would see the train passing en route to Kirkaldy.
Thank you to Mike Billinghurst (85-90) who sent us this interesting little side note to the School when he heard it from a customer recently.

The boy in the train

Double Whammy

Congratulations to Timothy Tarr (02-11) who joined the Royal Navy last year, Timothy is in the Warfare Branch, with the rank of Sub-Lieutenant.

2019 was a busy year for Timothy, as he married his fiancé, Natasha on 25 August, at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews - only 10 days after his Pass-Out Parade at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. Nicholas Stevenson (03-11), David McBay (05-11) and Angus Ross (01-10) celebrated with Timothy and Natasha on their big day.

Wishing you lots of happiness in your new role Timothy, please keep us updated.

Welcome to the World

Huge congratulations to Oli Green (99-07) and wife Elaine, who welcomed little Darcy into the world on 5 July 2020 weighing 7lbs exactly - she is gorgeous!

Two weeks later (23 July 2020) Rory Forbes (84-88) and wife, Anita welcomed their second daughter, Riley McGregor Forbes, into the world. Rory and Anita's eldest daughter, Elise has very much enjoyed becoming a big sister.

It has been a busy year for Rory as he also started a new job as Vice President of Security for Sands China Ltd based in Macau. "The new role is fun, back as Vice President in the same organisation where I started as a manager 9 years ago. It's great to see plenty of old faces as well as the new. Becoming a father for the second time at 50 years of age is fantastic, although I can't compete with the Bernie Ecclestones and Mick Jaggers of the world quite yet."

It is always a pleasure to share such lovely news, if you have good news to share please let me know.

Time for Trivia

I was delighted to hear that George Cockburn (58-63) kept many of you busy during lockdown with his trivia quiz.

"The quiz generated a huge amount of interest and I found that I've been speaking to fellow Merchistonians that I haven't spoken to for over half a century! I would be very happy to make it available to anyone else who might be interested?"


If you would like to connect with George and receive his quiz, do get in touch.

Lockdown Life

Michael Pancheri (61-66) completed the rebuild of his 1935 MGPB during lockdown. "When I started, I intended to create a light, quick road car which I could use for a bit of racing as well as trips to the pub for club gatherings. I reckoned about 5 years to complete, which would have given me a couple of seasons before I retired. In fact, it took me about 16 years".

Read more and view photos


Huge congratulations to Will Biggart (94-01) who, after a lot of hard work in the midst of the pandemic, has launched his new business - Torridon. Will has 14 years' experience in the retail, F&B and leisure sectors. He specialises in advising landlords on mixed-use developments and providing occupational advice to a number of retained clients.

"Focusing on our expertise in retail, F&B and leisure, we provide specialist development advice on repositioning of assets. Our clients include major institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals and leading UK & international property companies.

Coupled with working hand in glove with market-leading leisure, restaurant and retail operators, we provide guidance on expansion and business property decisions and give discerning advice to landlords when setting out on developments."

Find out more

Billionaire Suicide Club

Guy Winter's (88-94) new book, 'Billionaire Suicide Club', is out now on Amazon! Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's gripping suite of short stories, The Suicide Club, this fast-paced, contemporary technological thriller combines the opulence of the London elite with the world-weariness, danger and style of film noir.

Guy passes on his thanks to all of you who have already ordered and downloaded his book.

Billionaire Suicide Club

An interview with…

Read Emily Crozier's interview with Iain Clark (71-74) as Iain discusses his on-going project and recent success in the Scottish Portrait Awards.

Iain is a practicing photographic artist with work in the permanent collection of The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, and numerous private collections globally.


Here is Iain's pandemic lockdown self-portrait.

View more of Iain's work here.

Read the interview here

The Lister Knobbly

Thank you to Marcus MacLean (57-61) who spotted the below article in 'The Australian'. "

"Several months ago, I scanned the attached news clip about Archie Scott-Brown (42-45), which I thought might be of interest to some Merchistonians. It brought to mind memories of visiting Merchiston Mews, where 'Ecurie Ecosse', the de facto Scottish motor racing team was based. A few of us were even allowed to touch the lovely Jaguar C and D types which won the Le Mans race for several years in the late '50s."

Find out more

Night in Australia - Death at the Distillery

At this difficult time, it's even nicer to have more connections with home! The Edinburgh Schools in Sydney group are hosting a "Murder Mystery" themed evening on 28 November (all being well). The best way to find out what's going on is by liking their FB page.

As the event and venue are complying with Covid19 restrictions, there are limited tickets so get in early to secure your spot!

Click here

A Letter from Hong Kong

Alastair Murray (73-78) has kindly shared his letter from Hong Kong as he thought it might be interesting for anyone considering forwarding their careers in Hong Kong. Thank you, Alastair! Click here to read Alastair's Letter from Hong Kong.

Soldier in the Trenches

There was no end to the privations for the legions of young soldiers who sustained injuries during the Great War, whether from enemy fire or the all-encompassing mud which surrounded them for months and often


years as the hostilities raged on.  However, one pioneering surgeon from Aberdeen did his utmost to transform the situation and ended up making a huge difference to the lives of thousands of casualties. This one pioneering surgeon just so happened to be one of our own, Henry McIlltree Williamson Gray. 

More info

Merchistonian Business Network

Fraser Gillan (07-13) has started a one-year master's study in Political Science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Over the course of the year he will be exploring opportunities in and around the field of politics and is looking to speak to someone with experience in politics/political communications.


Daniel Taiwo (11-16) has finished his Masters in Finance at Lancaster University.

"I am now seeking a graduate position within Equity Research, Corporate Finance or Strategy Consulting. If anyone knows someone who can help me secure a role in any of these positions, please let me know".

Can anyone help Fraser or Daniel? Please get in touch if you are able to offer some support.

Get in touch

Roy Williamson (76-81) has been leading BP's global electrification and new mobility businesses for the past few years out of London. He has helped to shape BP's exciting new low carbon strategy and been responsible for a number of joint ventures and acquisitions, including Chargemaster the UK's leading EV charging business. He leaves BP in October after 18 years and will be staying involved in the e-mobility space. .



Congratulations to Kyle MacCormick (08-15) who has been awarded a First-Class Honours in Quantity Surveying from Heriot-Watt University. Good luck in London as you start your graduate role with Grosvenor Group while studying for your part-time Masters in Real Estate at Henley Business School!

Many of you will remember Jonny Timms  who we congratulate as he takes up the headship Of Walhampton in January 2021.

Congratulations also go to Rupert Heathcote, the new Headmaster of Queen Elizabeth's School, Bristol, as of Easter.

Curlers Wanted

Alastair Campbell (62-67), Curling Convener, is looking for more curlers for the Merchistonian team that takes part in the Wanderers League. The matches take place this season at Greenacres Curling Rink, near Uplawmoor, Renfrewshire and the fixtures are: 22 October v Glasgow Accies
19 November v Old Glenalmond
26 November v Kelvinside Accies
7 January v Aberdeen Grammar School FP

All the matches start at 8.30pm. The dates and time are subject to amendment as a result of Covid measures. If you're interested in joining the team, please get in touch with Alastair.

Sporting Updates

It is great to see Douglas Tidy (09-19) continuing the sport that he grew to love throughout his time at Merchiston now that he is at Loughborough University. Keep it up Douglas!


Listen to Roddy Deans, Director of Rugby and Rory McCann, Director of Sport hosting a sports webinar with Rob Moffat and Zach Mercer (13-15). Zach's honest and open thoughts on his own rugby journey is refreshing and fascinating to listen to.

Click here

Fraser Brown's (01-07) take on captaincy is that good leaders take people with them by staying true to themselves.

Read the full Times article here

Cotswold Rugby Festival - Mini and Juniors

Set in one of the most picturesque areas of the country, the Cotswold Rugby Festival will offer a combination of end to end rugby, welcoming hospitality from your hosts and family friendly accommodation in the beautiful Cotswold region. Everything you can want from a tour and more!

Read more here

Harvest Festival

We received some lovely feedback from many of you after sharing Merchiston's Whole School Service podcast at the start of term and as requested, plan to share as many virtual School events with you as possible.

Keep your eyes peeled for an email from us on Sunday morning with the link to the School's Harvest Festival video.

That's all for this week's newsletter.

As always, we hope you have enjoyed reading and if you have any stories of your own, please do get in touch!
Best wishes

Kay Wilson, Heather Aitkin Gillian Macaulay


0131 312 2237 | |
Merchiston Castle School, 294 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH13 0PU

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