Bryan Lewis, Director of Development, will leave ESMS at the end of this Spring term, when he will have completed almost 48 years of dedicated and loyal service to the Schools.

Bryan with the 1st XV in 1984

Bryan began his career with us back in 1974, when he was appointed as teacher of Classics and English at Stewart’s Melville College. In his 15 years at SMC he was appointed to a number of roles, including Housemaster of Cromarty, Head of Classics, and Head of Middle School.  He was also 1st XV rugby coach for 6 years. 

Stewart’s Melville College photo from 1989

In 1989 he was appointed as Headmaster of the Junior School, a role he fulfilled with gusto for a remarkable 27 years. Our nine school values originate from Bryan’s initiative – he introduced them to the Junior School, and they were subsequently adopted by the Senior Schools.  In 2001 he became Vice Principal of ESMS until he moved to take up the position of Director of Development in 2016.

During his time in the Junior School, he championed the Performing Arts at ESMS and nurtured our relationship with West End companies.  As a result, over the years hundreds of our children have appeared in professional productions including Joseph, A Christmas Carol and The Secret Garden.  We have also had strong links with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo since our pupils first performed there in 2012. ESMS continues to provide the official Tattoo Choir, another of Bryan’s creative initiatives. On leaving the Junior School, Bryan said “I would love every Junior School child to enjoy a happy and fulfilled life as that means they will make a positive difference to the world in which they will live as adults”.

Bryan at the naming of the Tom Fleming Centre in 2010

Bryan always enjoyed travelling and he led over 40 school tours to London, Dublin, all over Europe and North Africa involving over 1,000 pupils over the years.  You can read more about Lewis Tours here ( and here (

Bryan on the first 66 mile walk

Bryan encouraged ESMS children to get involved in community and fundraising activities. Famously he led the whole of Primary 7 in a marathon walk across the Pentlands – all 208 children took part, many walking for several hours covering a distance of 26km and 9 peaks to raise funds for an Lagganlia Outdoor Learning Centre. He led a few other long distance walks involving groups of children and subsequently started what is now known as the P7 Challenge, an annual sponsored walk which sees around 26 children from P7 walk 55 miles of the West Highland Way to raise funds for a variety of charities chosen by the children.

In recognition of his services to education and charity Bryan was awarded an MBE in 2018.

As Director of Development he has worked tirelessly for the Schools over the last seven years. Access to Excellence, which provides an important element of our bursary funding, has been championed by Bryan.  Bryan dedicated hours of his time to meeting with hundreds of alumni and members of the ESMS community, and connecting with as many as possible via digital means.  He always aimed to help to boost the ESMS network of contacts and invite them to support a wide range of school initiatives, from offering careers insight to pupils throughout the school and assisting with curricular or extra-curricular objectives, to sponsoring pupils to attend ESMS or linking pupils and young alumni with mentors amongst the more established members of our community. 

Bryan says “Once I made the decision to retire from my post as Junior School Headmaster I was very excited to be offered the opportunity to continue at ESMS as Development Director. There was much to look forward to but undoubtedly my main motivation was the chance to reconnect with former pupils of our schools in Edinburgh, throughout the UK and abroad. 

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to learn something of the lives of so many of the ‘young people’ for whose education I was responsible throughout my teaching career. Everyone who has been an ESMS pupil, who has been the parent of an ESMS pupil, or who has taught or been otherwise employed in the schools, will always be a valued member of our amazing community and my one wish as I leave is that we should all continue to support each other in any way we can. It is of course the remit of Development Office colleagues to facilitate and grow all our support networks and I have no doubt that they will do so very successfully as a result of their enthusiasm, dedication and hard work.”

Linda Moule, ESMS Principal, said “The first time I heard Bryan address a large ESMS gathering it was at a Primary 7 Valedictory Prizegiving some 14 years ago in the TFC. Bryan has a remarkable and enviable ability to capture the mood and attention of an audience, and on this day in late June, I was thrilled to hear him quote one of my favourite writers, Khalil Gibran. Bryan chose Gibran’s wise words to deliver his message about the all-important relationship between children and parents. I cannot think of a better way to sum up Bryan’s outstanding contributions to our ESMS family than to turn to Gibran’s words: “Generosity is giving more than you can and pride is taking less than you need.””

“It has been a real pleasure working with Bryan over the years and we wish him all the best for the future.”  ~Suzi

If you have a favourite memory of Mr Lewis, please share it with us by emailing

10 thoughts on “Bryan Lewis Retires

  1. Go well, Bryan – you’ve earned a long and happy retirement!
    Perhaps we will meet one day if I can make one last trip to UK!
    Julian Lloyd
    South Africa


  2. Wishing you a long and happy retirement Bryan. I remember you arriving at the school and staying on the top floor of the annex to the Boarding House back in 1974. Take care and wishing you all the very best.


    1. Thank you, Scott, my memory is that you sat next to the window combing your flowing locks during my first-ever teaching lesson at SMC when I had the pleasure of teaching Higher English to you and your friends!


  3. Your teaching did not only help generations of pupils to pass our exams, most importantly you taught us to be kind, generous to others and humane in our personal lives.
    A favourite quote from Jonus Salk sums up your career perfectly….
    There are two things we should give our children Roots and Wings. Roots to know where home is, wings to fly away and exercise what’s been taught them.
    Best wishes for a long, healthy and happy retirement.


    1. Thank you very much, Bruce, for your lovely comments which I appreciate. I have really enjoyed getting to know you again in recent years and hope we might meet up again sometime.


  4. Great to see Mr Lewis with the 1984 1st XV – that’s me standing next to him. By the way, the photo was in colour!

    All the best for your retirement. What a fantastic innings!


    School Captain/Captain of 1st XV 1984/5


    1. Don’t we both look so young? I really enjoyed coaching the team you captained even if it was not perhaps the most successful SMC 1st XV!


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