Popular Berwickshire High depute retires after 33 years

Retiring Deputy Head Teacher Alastair Christie at Berwickshire High School.
Retiring Deputy Head Teacher Alastair Christie at Berwickshire High School.

Berwickshire High School depute rector Alastair Christie is set to retire after 33 years at the school.

Dubbed ‘Mr C’ by the pupils and described as an “outstanding deputy” by rector Rob Kelly, there is no doubt he will be missed by staff, pupils and parents alike.

“He’s very much a part of the school,” Mr Kelly told The Berwickshire News.

“He was principal teacher of guidance and was outstanding in that capacity - he was very active on behalf of the students during that time and he’s always put the pupils first. I have worked with him for nearly 14 years now. He’s an outstanding depute and has made a huge contribution to the school - there’s a positive ethos in this school and it’s largely down to him.”

When asked about bullying during a school inspection, pupils said that if there was ever anything like that, they’d go and see Mr Christie and he would sort it out. “That sums the guy up!” Mr Kelly said.

“He’s in charge of school trips and excursions, and transport to school, and I frequently get letters and emails saying how well behaved our pupils are - I think a large part of that is down to him. It’s things like that, his stamp is right across the school.

“He’s also very popular with all the primaries - he’s made a point of visiting all the primary schools on a fairly regular basis so nearly all of the children coming up from primary already know Mr Christie, it makes their transition easier.”

Mr Kelly added: “We will miss him a lot. He’s trying to sneak out without us noticing but we’re not going to let him do that!”

It will be Mr Christie’s last day at the school next Friday - and after 30 plus years at the Berwickshire High, he says it will be a wrench. “I’m not looking forward to the actual last day,” he admitted.

“I’ll miss it like mad, especially the kids. I have been dead lucky because I have been in a job that I love and I get paid well for it, in a school where the kids are every bit as good as they were when I first came here. Young people get a lot of stick these days but there are fantastic kids here, with huge parental backing. I taught the parents of a lot of folk that I am teaching now!

“There have been a lot of highlights over the years, especially my time in PE,” Mr Christie said.

“The hockey and rugby tours to Canada with David Douglas were outstanding. Also the £10,000 raised by the fellowship to go in the first place, that was fantastic.”

As a keen Burnsian, Rotary Club member and golfer, Mr Christie won’t struggle to fill his days away from the school - especially as he has a big charity project in the pipeline. Having previously cycled from London to Edinburgh to raise money for charity, he will be putting his best foot forward next year, when he attempts to walk from London to his home town of Galashiels.

“My wife and I are going to walk from London to Gala to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis,” he explained.

“We’ll probably do it around this time next year. We’re already walking a lot but we’ll have to get out and do more to prepare for it. It’s a good way of keeping fit while raising money for a good cause. When the weather’s good I’ll be playing golf, and when it’s raining I’ll be walking!

“I’ve already been asked to do a Burns supper next year, so I’ll probably do a few of those as well,” he added.

It is a mark of the high esteem in which Mr Christie is held that he has been nominated to carry the Olympic torch next year.

Jennifer Vallance, who put Mr Chritie’s name forward for the ceremonial honour, said: “When you talk about The Berwickshire High School the first thing that pops into everybody’s head is Alastair Christie! He will be greatly missed by pupils and parents alike.

“They say nobody is irreplaceable - I think Mr Christie is the exception to that rule.”