5th May 2017

The Mouseman of Kilburn was my topic during Monday morning’s assembly. This late 19th century carpenter developed his considerable joinery skills in the production of wonderful oak furniture and other household items. The simple addition of a beautifully-carved small mouse adorns every piece of Robert Thompson’s craftwork. The mouse is never in the same place, and children persuaded to go to church in Yorkshire can very often be seen scanning the pews for the trademark rodent. There are very many pieces of Thompson of Kilburn furniture at Ampleforth College, and in various stately homes and churches all around the north of England, and even in Westminster Abbey. The message I was trying to convey to the pupils was, that this capable joiner extended his own skills, and that a simple idea proved to be the foundation of a business of which his descendants continue to make a great success today. He was a humble man, who lived in the village of Kilburn at the foot of the Hambleton Hills, and despite his huge success, he remained in the village where his workshops and the visitor centre welcomes the general public to this day.
An extremely busy week has unfolded since Monday morning, which included a whole school photograph that was staged quickly and efficiently, thanks to the attentive and cooperative approach of all our pupils, from the youngest to the oldest. 
Miss McRae and I welcomed a first visit from Melrose Parish Church minister Reverend Rosemary Frew, who we look forward to seeing more of in the future. In keeping with the carpentry theme, we also welcomed a lovely table, which is now on display in the Hamilton Building. This is the work of Robin Runciman, husband of Mrs Runciman. Do take an information leaflet detailing the fabulous work he does.
As work in New Buccleuch House progresses, the staff took the opportunity to donate their Six Nations sweep money, which accumulated throughout this year’s tournament but was not won by any member of staff. Plasterer David Bowland and Trustee Kevin Irvine gratefully accepted a cheque towards the Rowan Boland Trust, set up in memory of the Bowlands’ son, who died 7 years ago.  Rowan was a talented sports man and the trust has been set up to assist young people in the Scottish Borders with the costs of pursuing excellence in sport. The amount was a token gesture; St. Mary’s recognises how the Boland family have turned personal tragedy into a very positive way of supporting others, and we look forward to offering further support in the future.
Fixtures were bathed in sunshine on Wednesday, whether they were in Edinburgh, Perth or here at St. Mary’s. Please see the website for details. Also on Wednesday, Kindergarten held their annual charity café afternoon. Parents, staff and children took the opportunity to visit, and I know Mrs Berni and her team were delighted with the £121 raised. See report in the .mail for more details. 
On Thursday, Mr Purvis took a Clay Pigeon Shooting trio to compete in the Scottish Prep Schools’ Clay Pigeon Shooting Competition at Strathallan. Congratulations to Jamie, Antony and Jake for finishing runners-up, and to Jake for winning the trophy for ‘top gun’ on the day. See photos on the website.
As I walked into assembly with our guests, Mrs Alex Hems and Mrs Karen Batty from St. George’s School for Girls, this morning, we were surrounded by ‘superheroes’: no, not the staff or Form 8, but in fact Reception pupils, who along with Kindergarten pupils and staff were raising money for Radio Borders Superhero Day, Cash for Kids. I teased Mrs Currie by asking her if she was Dick Turpin and quick as a flash, she replied “no, but I am coming for your money!” A very worthwhile cause indeed. Mrs Hems went on to talk about following your dreams, as famous and not-so-famous astronauts have done in the past. She recalled a time when she was sat on her father’s shoulders one evening as he pointed up to the Moon and explained to her that there was a man walking around up there at that time. We are very grateful to Mrs Hems and Mrs Batty for visiting St. Mary’s and for spending time with staff, pupils and parents. 
We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow as we welcome 14 visiting schools to our Farr Out Challenge; a huge thank you to Laser Vision Scotland for generously sponsoring this event. Let us hope the sun shines as it has done for the latter part of this week. 
Believe it or not, we are managing to fit in our usual volume of classwork amongst all the other activities, visits and extra-curricular commitments. A busier prep school would be hard to find, in my opinion.
Finally, congratulations to Lucy B, Abbie, Louisa, Millie and Georgia on their selection for the Dandylions Rounders Squad.
Enjoy your weekend.

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