13th November 2020

Remembrance services were inevitably going to be conducted in a different way this year, and there is a certain poignancy to seeing the picture of John L at the Melrose War Memorial, wearing his grandfather’s medals whilst laying a wreath on behalf of the Melrose Scout Group.

Mr Jonathan Anderson, Merchiston’s Headmaster joined us online for Monday morning’s assembly, and he spoke of why the poppy is such an appropriate symbol to commemorate the fallen.  His reference to the beauty of the flower which is actually a weed, is in direct contrast to the horrors of war, and the fragility of its structure being a representation of how precious life is.  Mr Anderson recited sections of Colonel John McRae’s poem and spoke of how resilient the poppy is, just as humankind has had to be.

We asked Mr Anderson to pass on our good wishes to Messrs Stephen (x3), Tweedie (x2), Adamson, Mulholland, Dundas-Bekker, Ferguson, Richards, Briggs and Leighton.  I think it may have struck him that St. Mary’s has provided a fine army of young men to his ranks.  We also had delivered to Merchiston one of Miss Wood’s giant poppies, as a thank you to Mr Anderson for his poignant address.

Reverend Rosemary Frew and Reverend Pip Blackledge led our own Remembrance Service, Reverend Frew from the Manse and Reverend Blackledge from our Science lab!  The latter being due to the unreliable performance of Microsoft Teams in the Borders that remains an ongoing concern.  We are hugely grateful to the two Reverends, and indeed brass instrument tutor Stuart Black (Last Post) and music teacher Claire Davies (Piano).  I should also thank our Form 8’s who were exemplary in reading out the roll of honour and our Heads of School Mabel and Josh for delivering Donald Crawford’s poem ‘Why Wear a Poppy?’

This morning I returned to the practice of a Friday morning address, purely to set an appropriate tone ahead of next week’s Middle School assessments.  It is essential to calibrate the level of importance given to these ‘check-point’ processes and we appreciate the reiteration of this at home.  If you have a worrier, calm them; if you have a carefree daydreamer, wake them; if your son or daughter has the measure of the process, leave them to it.

I took the opportunity to thank all who wore a colourful hoodie or jumper and paid £2 for the privilege.  Proceeds will be forwarded to Children in Need. 

Thank you.

Have an enjoyable weekend.


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