Category: Alumni

Profiles on former pupils of Hawick High School


Deborah Lyons

Deborah (Debbie) Lyons was born in Hawick on the 27th of November 1957. She attended Burnfoot Primary School then Hawick High School from 1969 to 1973 where her ambitions were in Art and Music. Her favourite teachers were Mr. Landles (Art), Mr. Seeley (Music) and Mr. Hogg (English). Debbie is best known for hairdressing and beauty/ holistic therapy, her singing and being a long standing member of Hawick Amateur Operatic Society. She knew stage work was something she liked  after performing in three High School Gilbert & Sullivan productions. Her first stage performance was playing Louisa in ‘The Sound of Music’ at just thirteen. She wondered about Art College but then decided to channel her Art into hair styling “ doing an advance qualification and opening her own salon in 1977 and her second salon in Hawick which is still running in Drumlanrig Square. As well as her long connection with Hawick Amateur Operatic Society she has sung with other Societies in the Scottish Borders. After completing two theatre courses she has worked with Hawick High School children on two occasions, directing musical productions “Oklahoma!” and “A Christmas Carol”. It is her ambition to work more with local young people to produce more musical theatre and drama.

by Charles Wilson


George Goodfellow

George Goodfellow was born in 1951. He is a musician who attended Hawick High School from the year 1963 to the year 1966. His favourite lessons at school were English and History. His favourite teacher was Mr Jim Greig. He had many friends at Hawick High including Chuck Anderson and Bob Tumblety. His ambitions were to become a pop/rock star, which are ambitions he has since achieved in the field of country music with his GLG Band  He was also interested in travel but unlike many Hawick people he didn’t really like sports. George left school at the age of 15 to train as a gasfitter which occupation he has had all his working life latterly running his own business.

by Brodie Murray


John Ross Scott

John Ross Scott was born in 1951 at the Haig Maternity Hospital in Hawick and went to Wilton Primary School before attending Hawick High School from 1963 to 1966. At Hawick High he liked Biology, English and Art. His favourite teachers were Art teachers Rab Brown and John Weir and English teacher €œPopeye€ McPherson. He was friends with people like George Goodfellow, Alistair McKay, Roy Oliver, Johnny Donald, Colin Turnbull and Jim Speirs. John was inspired by John Weir and his ambition is to change the world. At school he wanted to be a farmer but then decided he didn’t like farming. Now John Ross Scott likes to write, do television, charity and NHS work, walk and act. He is currently working as the editor of ‘Orkney Today’ but was previously Convenor of the Scottish Borders Council, chief reporter and health correspondent with the ‘Southern Reporter’ and Editor of the ‘Hawick News’. Since he was at the High School he has been to Israel, served as Honorary Provost of Hawick during the Millennium, helped bring the railway back to the Borders and is currently trying to improve hospitals. In his own opinion schools aren’t as disciplined and are more flexible and free with education and along with it being easier he think’s it is more fun. His key moment at Hawick High was the day he left, and 6 months later when he realised that he was wrong for leaving.

By Brodie Murray


Kenneth Kitchen

Kenneth Anderson Kitchen was born in 1932. He attended Hawick High School. He is  Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow at the School of Archaeology, University of Liverpool.

He is one of the leading experts on the Egyptian Third Intermediate Period. He has written many books and articles for journals on this topic, including ‘The Bible In Its World’ ‘Pharaoh Triumphant: The Life and Times of Ramesses II, King of Egypt’ and  ’Poetry of Ancient Egypt’. The Times has described him as “the very architect of Egyptian chronology”

by Hannah Simpson


Thomas Stoddart

Thomas Stoddart was a highly important mining engineer in Australia. He was born in 1828. He left Hawick Grammar School aged just 16. After being apprenticed as a joiner, when he was 20 years old, he joined the army for 5 years. Aged 25, he left for Australia, where he worked in the Ballaarat area, near Melbourne, as a miner. Through time, he became a speculator and Director of many Mining Companies. By the time he was 50 years old, he was a very wealthy man.  He is recorded to have subscribed to Hawick Common Riding in the 1880s. In 1905  he took a holiday trip across the ocean to Sorrento. On the return journey he was severely affected by the cool weather change, making him ill beyond recovery.

by Hannah Simpson


Bert Armstrong

Bert Armstrong is a well known Hawick singer. He was Hawick’s official Common Riding Song-Singer. He was born on the 7th of October in 1924 at 11 Dickson Street in Hawick.  His father, George Armstrong, was a butcher, a fishmonger as well as a member of the Common Riding Committee. His grandfather, who was also called George was the landlord of the “Ewe an’ Lamb” and the owner of the Howegate fish shop. He went to Wilton Primary where at the age of ten he sung the first and last verse of “Up wi’ the Banner” for  Cornet Bill Brydon’s Cornet’s visit. He then attended Hawick High School leaving in 1937 at the age of 14 to work in the mill to help earn money for his family. During his time at school his favourite subject was Music and he was friends with John Oliver, Jim Clarke and Taylor Hope. He looked up to Bill McLaren who, at the time, was the Athletics Champion in Hawick High School. In 1943 he joined the Navy and worked as a cook onboard the HMS Goshawk. He himself states that he wasn’t a very good cook, even going as far to say that his cooking was more likely to kill the soldiers than the Germans were. He got an MBE from the Queen in 2004.

by Haru Nagato-Apthorp


Eric Grierson

Thomas Fleming Eric (T.F.E.) Grierson, known as Eric Grierson was born on the 19th of August 1930. He went to Hawick High School and spent 3 and ½ years there. One of his pals at school was Norman Davidson and his ambitions at Hawick High were all to do with sport. His favourite teachers where Mr Redpath (Maths), Mr Finlayson (Art), Mrs Philips (French) and Miss Harper (P.E.). Eric is mainly known for being an International Rugby Referee and being President of the Scottish Cricket Union. His first international was Ireland versus South Africa at Lansdowne Road in 1970 . Eric refereed 5 international games in total, but probably his most memorable fixture was the Barbarians versus Fiji game at Gosforth in 1970, which is still regarded as one of the most entertaining matches ever played in the British Isles . He was on the international rugby referees panel for 7 years.  He played – until he was 50 –  for Hawick and Wilton Cricket Club and was greatly honoured to be the President of the Scottish Cricket Union.

by Charles Wilson


Nigel Griffiths

Nigel Griffiths is a former Labour MP for Edinburgh South. He was born on 20th May 1955.His father Lionel was for many years Hawick High School’s  Principal Teacher of English. After attending Hawick High Nigel attended the University of Edinburgh,graduating with an MA in 1977.  Ten years later he was elected to Parliament, on the 11th June 1987. He was the first-ever Labour MP for South Edinburgh.
Later in his career, he worked with Anita Roddick to found the magazine ‘The Big Issue’, a magazine written by journalists, then sold in the streets up and down the country by homeless people. He stood down from being an MP on January 31st, 2010.

by Hannah Simpson


Alan Brydon

Alan Brydon was born in Hawick on 10th February 1961. He attended HawickHigh School between 1972 and 1976 and most enjoyed English as he was very interested in reading and poetry. His English teacher was Mrs McNaughton and she was a real inspiration to Alan.  Music was an interesting hobby and he enjoyed getting taught by Mr Seeley. Technical Drawing was a loved subject too. While at school, Alan attended and became part of the Rambling Club. He also took part in the Hawick Boys Brigade Pipe Band to add to his love of music and he was even in a rock band! Today Alan still enjoys music and was part of Scocha the Hawick folk rock band. He is a prolific singer/ songwriter. His “Calling Down the Line” and “On the Road to Passchendaele” are now sung in may places at Remembrance time and his “The Bonnie Banner Blue” is now one of the most popular Common Riding songs. He is a great Common Riding enthusiast. He was Chief Guest in 2010 and President of the Ancient Order of Mosstroopers in 2012. He wrote “The Keeper of Teviotdale” a novel set in Hawick and co-wrote the musical “A Reiver’s Moon” with Ian Landles. He is owner of the Garnett Group which makes automated control systems for carding machinery and fibre feeding equipment. His job takes him all over the world.

by Orla Presslie


Paul Hogarth

Paul Hogarth was born in the early morning of the 14th February 1959. As a child he lived in Burnfoot and attended Burnfoot Primary. Having Bill Mclaren teaching him P.E. was a great sporting influence. Paul attended Hawick High School from 1971 to 1977. His family moved to a large flat along the High Street in his First Year. After leaving school in Sixth Year,  His favourite teacher at school was Rab Brown who taught Art and became head of department in the 1980’s. He was very helpful in  guiding Paul to his career. Art was by far his favorite subject but he also enjoyed the Sciences and Geography. He wasn’t particularly interested in Maths and especially English where he didn’t quite see eye-to-eye with Mr. Griffiths. He told Paul that in his Higher he would be lucky to pass with a C but he managed to achieve an A! After school Paul went to Heriot Watt University/Edinburgh Art College to study Landscape Architecture. Paul had a good rugby career. He played for Hawick High School, Hawick PSA and Hawick YM and Hawick all in one season 1977-1978. He continued to play for Hawick from 1977 until 1987. Paul never achieved a cap for Scotland which was his ambition but he did play for the South and he featured in Scottish Trials and in 1985 and 1986 he played 6 times for Scotland B, captaining them on 3 occasions including captaining a team that was the first Scotland side to win an international against France in France since the 1940’s. After graduation in 1982 and working for Architects and Landscape Architects in Edinburgh for 8 years to 1990, he set up his very own practice. It was named ‘The Paul Hogarth Company’. Paul is married to Lesley Wells and has two children, Tom and Charlotte. His hobbies include gardening, hill walking with his two labradors, going to the gym and watching rugby.

by Orla Presslie


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