Remembering the founding father

Montrose Academy
Montrose Academy

A former Montrose Academy teacher passed away on Saturday, March 29, at the age of 81.

Robert Baxter Meikle (better known as Bob) of Saltbum, Invergordon, was the ‘founding father’, in 1975, of Alness Academy.

Bob’s good luck began by being born into a family of farmers and miners - on his mother’s side he was able to trace back an unbroken line of farming folk until the 1620s.

An only child, he enjoyed an idyllic rural childhood in an ancient small village on the Lothian plain.

His parents’ reverence for learning ensured his benefiting from a solid primary education and six years of thorough teaching in secondary school.

Good fortune gilded his National Service from 1956-58. Infantry training with the Manchester Regiment was followed by early promotion to Sergeant in the Army School of Education and a posting to Germany. His pride and joy in being posted to serve the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards knew no limits, and he considered an army career.

His appointment to a post in Bell Baxter High School, Cupar, was again his great fortune.

Six years later in 1964, he was promoted to principal teacher in Montrose Academy.

Bob was one of the first groups in Scotland to translate new ways of teaching Geography into a school syllabus.

He lectured nationally and helped produce new teaching materials.

Promotion to assistant rector in the first wave of such posts, in 1972, in Montrose, followed and in 1975 he was interviewed by the Ross and Cromarty Council Education Committee where he was appointed rector designate of the yet-to-be-built Alness Academy.

Bob retired in 1993 after 18 years at the helm, having seen some 3,000 youngsters pass through the school. Music was Bob’s love and his lifelong passion was sport - being the captain of Montrose RFC.

In 2006 a life-extending lobectomy, after the accidental discovery of a lung tumour and the skills of a dutch surgeon, proved successful.

Bob married his wife Adrianne on July 31, 1959, and they enjoyed 55 years together. 1962 saw the birth of their daughter Karen and three years later the couple were blessed with a son named Sean.

A memorial service for Bob was held in Rosskeen Parish Church, Alness, on Thursday, April 10.