DONALD SMITH – AN APPRECIATION
On Friday, October 29th, a large congregation at Murroes Church paid tribute to the memory of Don Smith (DB) an outstanding and well loved member of the Modern Languages Department at Morgan Academy for many years, who made his mark in many ways, not only as an excellent teacher but as a shining example to all those whom he taught and to his colleagues as well.
“A lad o’ pairts”, though a real Yorkshireman, had served, after field training in South Africa, as an instructor in the R.A.F. on Tiger Moths at the Elementary Flying School at Scone. He fell in love with this area and arrived at Morgan, which he served with distinction both within and outwith the school for many years, starting up hockey for boys (leading eventually to one Olympic star), participating in school outdoor pursuits like hill-walking and ski-ing and organising foreign expeditions, on one of which he contracted poliomyelitis. He was told he would need calipers for the rest of his life, but being Don, he defied predictions and through sheer guts and a refusal to conform danced at a wedding in record time and proceeded to golf and hill-walk till well into old age.
On leaving Morgan, with his beloved wife Tib and his family, he went to Anderson High School in Lerwick as head of Modern Languages, stayed several years, took “O” Grade Norwegian, and wrote a book about his life there prior to taking up a similar post at Forfar Academy where he finished a distinguished career.
I have taught in five different schools in both east and west Scotland and I can say without fear of contradiction that I never encountered a finer colleague and friend than Don Smith. They simply don’t have characters like him in schools any more.