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Chapter 16: Personalities

Over its one hundred and twenty seven years many members of the Club have given loyal and devoted service to it in all its many spheres of activity. Whether on the Executive, in Centres or Sections, in the Club Centre, or in the publication of the Magazine, the Club is greatly indebted to them. Outstanding among these is one to whom reference has already been made – and how could it have been avoided? – one who for years personified the Former Pupils’ Club, Theodore Watt (1889-1901). During his last two years at School he was a School editor of the Magazine. In 1907 he joined the Rosemount Press in Aberdeen, and in the same year he became Editor of the Magazine (which had been taken over by the FP Club in that year). He remained Editor until his death thirty-nine years later. He was not just Editor – he personally researched and wrote all the Obituary Notes, and prepared the Notes about Old Boys, Marriages and regular University Graduation and Prize Lists, much of the information gleaned from a daily scrutiny of the principal national newspapers as well as the local press. This, linked with the extensive card index system which he had introduced to follow on from the Roll of Pupils to 1919, (which he had prepared and produced) made for comprehensive and informative notes.

The same card index, up-dated from the School Registers, is still used, and is an essential tool of present-day Notes Editors. This has all to be seen against the background of three issues of the Magazine each year (only cut back to two because of war-time restrictions). In addition to all this, Dr. Watt became Secretary and Treasurer of the Club in 1919, and stepped down only in 1946. His several successors in 1993 (four people now do what he did alone) cannot begin to understand how, with what had by then become the Aberdeen University Press Ltd. to run, and other commitments arising from that, Theodore Watt found the time to do all this and do it in such an accomplished manner. Elected President of the Club in June 1946 on his retiral as Secretary, he handed over the All-Round Trophy at the School Prize-giving on 28th June and died very suddenly on 5th July. As a mark of respect to this remarkable man, once described by a President of the Club as “the most enthusiastic of all our Grammarians”, no successor was appointed, and the Presidential Chair remained vacant until the Annual Meeting the following year.

One of Dr. Watt's sons Alan C. R. Watt (1925-¬37) succeeded him as Editor and continued in the same tradition until 1955, when the post was split, with a separate Notes Editor. Alan went on later to be Chairman of the Executive and in due course President of the Club. His son, Nigel (1963-69), keeps up the family tradition being Secretary and Past President of the Edinburgh Centre as well as being Club President in 2012-13.

The Club is fortunate, in respect that over a period of one hundred years it has had only four Secretaries, three of whom also acted as Treasurers. J. Scott MacLachlan (1922-32) followed Theodore Watt and held office from 1946 to 1965, followed by Brian K. Crookshanks from 1965 to 1976. John F. Hendry (1951-65) has been Secretary since then, the post of Treasurer being separated.

It is interesting to note that, every now and again, one School year turns out a greater than average number of enthusiasts for the Club and School. The year 1934-46, for example, has so far given the Club five Presidents, one of whom has served as a Club official in a number of different capacities since 1959. The year 1951-65, famous for its record of re-unions, can boast that four of its number have been heavily involved in the administration of both the Club and the Club Centre and with the production of the Magazine for over thirty years. That such loyalty and dedication exist surely bodes well for the future.

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