10th November 2017

Following on from last Friday’s assembly, Form 7 honoured their promise to raise money for Alzheimer’s Scotland, and well done to Mrs Hardie and Form 7 for raising £284 from their cake sale. During assembly on Monday morning, I congratulated both the U11 7s team and the U13 7s team who had represented St. Mary’s so proudly over the preceding weekend. The U13s won the Charities Cup at Ardvreck, and appropriately donated the proceeds to Epilepsy Scotland in memory of a former Ardvreck pupil, who tragically passed away recently.
I then paid tribute to our Accelerated Reader scheme millionaire readers, Eliza and Geordie, and detailed what an outstanding achievement it was to have each read and completed the subsequent quizzes of a list of books totalling over one million words in a matter of six or seven weeks. 
We welcomed Ampleforth representatives Geoff Thurman and Will James to St. Mary’s for the afternoon. Both spent time chatting with pupils and staff before contributing to the running of the afternoon games sessions. 
Beyond the close of play, Miss Renwick, Mrs Fresle and Mrs Currie met with parents of Forms 1, 2 and Reception to update them on their children’s progress. To complete their project on Sir Walter Scott, Form 3 visited the former residence of Sir Walter Scott’s aunt and uncle. Conveniently, this residence is now inhabited by Mr and Mrs Stewart. Mrs Kirkness, Mr Millar, and the pupils thoroughly enjoyed their visit, and thank you to Mr and Mrs Stewart for their hospitality, and for sharing the history of their lovely home.
Meanwhile, middle school rehearsal for the forthcoming production of ‘Olivia’ got underway. A busy fixture programme ensued on Wednesday with mixed results. Please see the website for details.
Ms Shaureen Lammie, Outreach worker for SBC, visited Form 3 to share Viking artefacts and to talk about Viking history. On Wednesday evening, Miss McRae, Mrs Hardie, Miss Renwick and Mrs Harvey took a choir, made up predominantly of Form 6, but also instrumentalists in Lucy M and Maria, to perform in a service in aid of Makerstoun Church. I was the grateful recipient of several communications from those who attended the evening’s service, congratulating our pupils on their standard of performance, smartness, and behaviour. Miss McRae was delighted with how they conducted themselves.
On Thursday, we welcomed Head of Lower Years at Loretto, Mrs Elaine Burgess, to St. Mary’s, and Mr Jonathan Lee, Headmaster of Longridge Towers, came across to meet me and some staff. It is always a pleasure welcoming representatives of senior schools to which our leavers may head, as it is important to establish a shared ethos to make such transitions as seamless as possible.
This morning Reverend Rosemary Frew conducted the St. Mary’s Remembrance Service and she gave a moving address that included the true story of a little Canadian girl’s teddy bear, who accompanied her father in the trenches. The tale was a “breast-pocket view” narration from the teddy bear, and this proved the most skilful way of informing our youngest to our oldest pupils of the darkness of war.
Madame Syme expertly, skilfully, and courageously took on the playing of the Last Post, a task previously performed by her dear friend Colin Crozier, who passed away last December. Mr Bell played the piper’s Lament following Form 8’s moving tribute to former pupils of St. Mary’s who had lost their lives fighting for their country.
I would like to thank Reverend Frew for conducting such a moving service. This Sunday sees the annual Melrose town parade in memory of servicemen from Melrose and the surrounding area, and indeed all the fallen. St. Mary’s prides itself on a large turnout in number 1 uniform, so Mrs Harvey and I can lead the St. Mary’s section of the Town Parade to the War Memorial by the Parish Church. We would be extremely grateful to any pupils who are able to join us at the Corn Exchange at 10:15am. The service lasts from 10:10am to 11:10am approximately.
Have a good weekend.

Jules Birdsall, 10/11/2017

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