Pupils and apprentices in Montrose join forces for Christmas service

GSK apprentices and Montrose Academy pupils joined forces for a Christmas event
GSK apprentices and Montrose Academy pupils joined forces for a Christmas event

Three good causes will benefit from more than £2000 thanks to a musical collaboration between GlaxoSmithKline apprentices and Montrose Academy.

A festive tradition at GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Montrose plant is apprentices lead an annual charity Christmas carol service for staff every December.

Having been accompanied by a tired old Christmas karaoke CD for a number of years, the group was challenged by site director Dr Les Thomson to “up the game”.

Drawing on a partnership the site has with Montrose Academy, the apprentices came up with the idea to ask the school’s music department for help.

Engineering team manager Mel Robertson, who is responsible for the apprenticeship programme at GSK Montrose, said: “We have a really close relationship with the school, running a number of events throughout the year from site tours and work experience to our award-winning Industrial Cadets partnership.

“So when we asked them for help, the pupils and teachers were only too happy to oblige.”

Montrose Academy Depute Headteacher Jim Dunbar added: “We have benefitted from the partnership in many ways over the years, so we were delighted to be able to be given the opportunity to give something back to GSK.

“Our music teachers Jacqui Peal and Jacqui Cockburn pulled out all the stops to get an ensemble ready for the event.”

A group of 10 young musicians and singers from Montrose Academy, along with Mr Dunbar and Mrs Peal, joined the snowman-attired apprentices and Santa-clad Mr Robertson in the site’s engineering workshop, where more than 100 members of staff came along to sing, eat mince pies and make a charitable donation.

A total of £2277 was raised, which will be split between Montrose Academy, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Save the Children.

Dr Thomson concluded: “The apprentices rose to the challenge magnificently, and have given us a really memorable event.

“The bar has now been raised and I expect even more next year.”