Category Archives: Old Boys News

Maggie’s Monster challenge 2013

Early on Sunday morning 5th May; Jim MacFarlane & Finlay Kerr (Jr) finally arrived at Inverness stadium, 23 hours and 21 minutes after leaving Fort William to complete the gold level of Maggie’s Monster challenge . Ewan Reid had joined the team from the start and completed the silver challenge up to Drumnadrochit, a significant undertaking in itself.


So far this team of old boys from the 1988 release have raised over £1600 for the Maggie’s centres. Having met so many wonderful people, with significant emotional investment in the work of the Maggie’s centres, team Keil concluded that this was indeed a particularly worthwhile event are proud to have contributed in their own small way to the work of an outstanding organisation.

If you like to add a little more to the effort, all contributions are gratefully received at

Special thanks to Finlay’s pregnant wife Fiona and Finlay Sr for stepping into the breach when the original support team were forced to pull out due to family issues.

Death of Charles Mees

We are sorry to report on the death of Charles Mees.  This week the club received an email from his nephew Allan Mees  informing of his uncles passing.  Charles Mees died on Wednesday 18th April at the age of 92.  Charles attended Keil in the 1930’s.

Those who remember Charles may also remember Allans father John M Mees who attended Keil in the 1930’s and was Dux of the School in 1937/38.  John Mees died at the age of 37 in 1957.  

We will endeavour to add more details of both Charles and of John Mees in due course.

The funeral for Charles Mees will be held at Clydebank Crematorium  on Wednesday 25th April at 3pm.


Death of Tom Scott

Sorry to report that we have been advised of the death of one of the best known Keil School characters, Tom Scott. He was at school in the 1930s I think. Owner of Inchmurrin Island / Hotel on Loch Lomond, Highland Games stalwart, supporter of Old Boys activities for many years and truly a larger than life character to all those that knew and met him. His 3 sons (Douglas, David and Dugald) were at Keil in the 1970s.

The funeral is at Cardross Crematorium on Monday 23rd April at 3.15 pm.

Ian MacDonald (7th July 1910 – 4th January 2012)

Ian MacDonald

Ian was born in Bellevue Road, Edinburgh. His father ran a light engineering and model making business in Frederick Street.

In 1917 the family moved out to Newbridge on the outskirts of the city where Ian attended Ratho Primary School. Then, travelling by train to Edinburgh, he attended secondary school at the Royal High School. The family again moved, this time to Corstorphine around 1930. Ian started learning his trade as a piano and organ tuner and restorer with Methven Simpson Ltd (music house). He was proficient at playing both instruments. Ian moved to London to continue his trade until 1940 when he joined the RAF. He trained as a Wireless Operator and was stationed in South Africa until 1945, flying as an operator in planes teaching air crew.

He returned to Methven Simpson, and in 1947 was the standby instrument technician retuning the instruments in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh during the early days of the Edinburgh Festival recitals. In 1948 he accompanied a piano which had been gifted to the Iona Community.

Later in 1948 he took advantage of the scheme to train returning servicemen, and studied Technical Drawing and Woodwork at Gordon College in Aberdeen. After completing the course, he was appointed to the position at Keil School, Dumbarton in 1950 and remained there until his retirement in 1977. He returned to Corstorphine, Edinburgh, continuing to play golf regularly into his late eighties. In recent years he moved, along with his sister Mary, to a care home at Murrayfield.

Ian was more than just a teacher: he was a mentor, a person of high standards, a strict disciplinarian and a person of compassion, who had the ability to reprimand a wayward pupil or correct an immature reaction. At that time it may have appeared harsh; however the pupil on reflection understood and to this day, up to sixty years on, remembered his tutelage and guidance. Mr MacDonald, better known as Wee Aye, left a lasting set of high standards allowing no compromise for thousands of pupils at Keil.

Ian MacDonald on his 100th Birthday

He was a very lively and able centenarian, fondly relaying stories of his time Keil and its more famous or notorious pupils.

He had two sisters, Barbara who died aged 101 in 2007 and Mary who died aged 98. Neither Ian nor his sisters married.

Written by a personal friend, Tom Govenlock,

Reminiscences of some of his pupils at Keil:

Bill Menzies (1949-53)

Ian put a great deal of trust in boys on whom he could depend. When Ian arrived at Keil in 1950, he possessed a black ‘Morris 8’ (2-seater) open top – a ‘Tourer’ I think it was called then. The car had covered a high mileage in its time and it was patently obvious by its performance that the engine badly needed a ‘de-coke’. Who better than my classmate Ben Mundell – whose father had a garage and ran a taxi service in Tarbert, Loch Fyne – to do the job! Stripping the engine to expose valves and tappets was a piece of cake to Ben, and I clearly remember the courtyard in front of ‘New House’ (latterly ‘McKinnon House’), and Ian’s car with all the valves and tappets laid out in precise order on a newspaper and Ben happy as anything, grinding in the valves. Class mates all around were frankly astounded at what we saw that day. Where Ben got the nickname ‘Tiddler’ I never knew , but by jove we thought he was the cat’s whiskers watching him attempt a job the rest of us hadn’t a clue about! Was he successful? Absolutely! ‘Wee Aye’ was delighted with the result, but I doubt if he ever found out how some of us had a ‘go’ at driving his car later that great day. We were only in our 2nd Year!

Donald Leckie (1950-54)

Shortly after Ian joined Keil in 1950, he threw me (deservedly!) out of the Gilbert & Sullivan choir for misbehaviour. However, he had noticed my enjoyment of the music and he soon loaned me gramophone records, which encouraged me to develop a lifelong interest in classical music. I was pleased to be able to return this kindness by visiting him regularly in his later years, swapping many stories about our times at Keil.

Brian Oswald (1962-67)

… Wee Aye lived to the age of 102, but I wasn’t surprised – the man was amazing! He didn’t rush around and wave his arms about, like some of his contemporary colleagues, but just went quietly about the business of teaching us skills that would serve us all of our days. I left Keil in 1967, but every time I use a saw, I can still hear him saying, “Let the saw do the job it was designed for – cutting wood – your arm and hand are only there to move it back and forward in a straight line!” And my favourite one…..”Stop PUSHING that pencil: this is called technical drawing for a good reason – DRAW it along the line!”

They don’t make teachers like Ian any more, I fear. It won’t be long before people will have forgotten how to sharpen chisels; they’ll just throw them away and buy a new one from B & Q.  I am still using some of the chisels regularly that I bought in about 1970, and even a couple that I inherited from my grandfather which probably date back another 50 years or so before that. They are all a bit shorter than when they were new, but they still take a keen edge, thanks to Ian’s teaching! The same goes for my 1970s Stanley planes

Tim Holland (1970 to 76)

I still remember him fondly and always think of him if I do any woodwork projects around the house. “Fingers behind the cutting blade” is a saying of his that has probably saved me a few flesh wounds over the years. It was the same with the technical drawing skills that he passed on to us all. I never did work out how he could be so neat when writing block letters on the blackboard.

Mike Dovaston (1962 – 67)

I was most interested to see Tom Govenlock’s obituary on Ian MacDonald.  I understood we would be told about Wee Aye’s funeral arrangements?  Did any of the Old Boys go to the funeral and if so who was there and were there any of the Keil masters there?

I would have attended for sure.  Please post this on the KSOB website.  I would have emailed but cant seem to get logged in and the club email is not working*.  Are others experiencing difficulties?  Hope this doesn’t inconvenience you.  Yours Mike Dovaston.

A sad day indeed and an end to another chapter of Keil history.

* Apologies to Mike – The club email account was full – if you cant get through on the usual address please try our new hotmail accout

Death of Ian MacDonald


From James Woodrow:

Some and possibly many of you will remember Ian MacDonald the technical drawing and woodwork teacher at Keil for more 35 years.  He retired in 1975/6.  He was  better known to many of us as Wee Eye.  I received a call today to advise me that Ian died earlier this morning, 4 January in a care home in Edinburgh.  He was a very lively and able 102 years old and, until recent months he has retained an exceptional memory, fondly relaying stories of Keil and its more famous or notorious pupils.

Funeral Details to follow.

Something from the in-tray (letters)

From time to time we receive correspondence from KSOBs who are keen to make contact with other old boys of their era. Often Old Boys are found via social networking site such as Facebook, Linkedin or Bebo but its true that some prefer not to use these sites and as a service to our old boys we are always happy to post correspondence on the blog (with your permission) such as the following letter from Lindsay Bremner.

Hello Webchief

Just been reading your web page about the school, functions etc. It made me a little nostalgic and nudged me into writing this e-mail.

I was at Keil from 1956 to 1962. My first Chief was Iain Wotherspoon (Campbeltown), who is now unfortunately no longer with us. My first Deputy was Bill Crozier and the first time I was ‘peeched’, for walking to the dining room with my thumbs in my trouser pockets (probably after a couple of warnings), was by ‘Gad’ Wotherspoon.

My mates at Keil were:- Alan McArthur from Lamlash (I think), Gordon Stark from Millport and Brian Smith from Lochgilphead.

I also spent one summer at Julian Rey’s home revising for exam resits at Glasgow University.

Unfortunately I have lost touch with all of them though I noticed Julian’s name mentioned in a report and saw photos after a fishing outing in June last year.

I don’t know if you have a database of Old Boys from 1950 to say 1965? If you have I would be interested to find out more about some of them.

Looking at the photo of the school Chiefs, I think both Archibald (Ian) Buntain & Douglas Cotter, who both became Senior Chiefs were in my class at one time or another.

I still have a fat lip I got from Robbie Kerr (Finlay Kerr Snr’s brother) after going to a rugby international at Twickenham!

Lindsay Bremner
(KSOB 1956-62)

P.S. Please tell Julian Rey I was ‘asking after him’.

Sadly we don’t have a full database of all our KSOBs and those details we do have are not always up to date. We encourage all Old Boys to register for this website which helps us to keep you up to date with club activities. User of the site can of course comment below but we recommend you don’t post personal details such as email address (to avoid spam), if you would like to contact Lindsay you can email the club at

Charity efforts – Gavin Bruce

It used to be exciting when my pals were heading off on overseas adventures, but I’m just not sure how to take it when my school contemporaries are sending their offspring away to do good things in far flung places

In any case, here’s an email from Gavin Bruce, who was a Keil boy in the 80’s

Dear all,

You may or may not be aware that my youngest daughter Danielle has been accepted on a gap year placement to Fiji starting in January next year. During the gap year (7months) she will be working in a special needs school assisting teachers and children aged from 6 – 16.

The charity that she will be working for is a specialist gap year charity called Lattitude Global volunteering who will organise her accommodation, placement and assistance while she is in Fiji.
Over the next year she will be raising funds through various events, ceilidh, bag packing with friends etc. and, here’s the good bit a sponsored walk of the West highland way with a friend and her old man.

In between fundraising she has asked for work experience at Hampden Special needs school in Glasgow who have kindly agreed to help out

Here’s where you come in, I have agreed to walk the west highland way starting at Milngavie on 04 April 2011 and ending 7 days and a few blisters later at Fort William on the understanding that a split of the total funds raised by Danielle, Linsey and myself is given to Lattitude and Hampden Special needs school, I would be very grateful if you could assist by letting me add your name\company name with your suggested sponsorship to our list.

Gavin Bruce

You can donate to Gav and Danielles efforts at their JustGiving page.