When I was in school, to my surprise and also that of others, I was awarded the C Neil Sharp prize, and attended the Moray Sea School at Burghead (now closed) in July 1973 joining, I recall, Drake Watch. Despite being the youngest member of the Watch I was elected Deputy Watch Captain. I then began to realise that I had leadership skills which enabled me to lead and inspire others in the Watch. I also recognised an inner strength which enabled me to push myself far beyond what I had previously thought I was capable of. The Moray Sea School was a tremendous experience although it is fair to say that in 1973 the standards of Health & Safety awareness and political correctness fell far short of what pertains now.
Following the Outward Bound Course I returned to Stewart’s Melville for what was the start of the merger and at mid-term was appointed School Captain. I was able to draw on my recent experience at Burghead to lead and inspire my fellow pupils in sixth year to ensure that the merger was a success despite the rivalries which existed between the two schools, Daniel Stewart’s College and Melville College. I also had to work closely with the teaching staff.
In my professional career I was in charge of the Private Client Department at Shepherd & Wedderburn running a team of roughly 70 people ranging from qualified solicitors to secretaries and unqualified clerks all of whom had different aspirations and outlooks. Again my Outward Bound experience helped me run the Department drawing as I did on my leadership skills. As Chair of Columba 1400, due to the pandemic I have worked closely with our Leadership Team and again despite the challenges we have faced I have drawn on my experiences to help maintain a focus on our key objectives. I am pleased to say that we shall come out of this crisis stronger than we entered it.
To sum up I joined Drake Watch as a very immature and under confident boy and came away as a confident, complete and fully-rounded young man capable of leading and inspiring those with whom I interact.