Schools’ role in Duns Castle celebrations

850 Berwickshire High School and Duns Primary School pupils form '700'  in front of Duns Castle.
850 Berwickshire High School and Duns Primary School pupils form '700' in front of Duns Castle.

As Duns Castle prepares to celebrate its 700th anniversary, 850 Berwickshire High and Duns Primary School pupils took part in a drone film performance.

In 2020, Duns Castle celebrates its 700th anniversary, the original tower house having been built by the Earl of Moray in 1320. Although a private home and an exclusive use venue, the castle is an important landmark for the local community and it is intended the anniversary will be both a castle and community celebration.

Berwickshire High School teachers (from left): Kenny Manson (Deputy Head Teacher), Colin Gracey (Principal Teacher of Developing the Young Workforce), Chris Ash (Principal Teacher of Guidance) and John Clarke (Headteacher).

Berwickshire High School teachers (from left): Kenny Manson (Deputy Head Teacher), Colin Gracey (Principal Teacher of Developing the Young Workforce), Chris Ash (Principal Teacher of Guidance) and John Clarke (Headteacher).

The Duns Castle 700 Committee, primarily members of Duns community, has been established to commemorate the historic occasion and local associations and organisations are being invited to celebrate the occasion with a programme of events being established.

“Since DCC is also 700 in Roman numerals, we have built this into our visual identity,” explains Jonathan Findlay, one of the organisers behind the project, “and this is where the school children come into the picture.

“We needed a strong image to help us launch the celebrations, one that clearly showed community spirit. When we first had the idea of the children forming the letters DCC then morphing into 700, we could not have imagined the level of excitement this would stir among the children. They have been amazing.”

The children had only had one rehearsal and much credit is given to the teachers who managed to co-ordinate it seamlessly.

“It’s a privilege to be on the DCC 700 Committee as a representative of Duns Primary,” says Rachel Foy, acting head teacher. “Throughout next session, our P7 pupils will be training as Duns Castle tour guides and leading learning for other school children across the authority. Our early years children will be focusing on the skills for lifelong learning and work by taking on the job as wildlife rangers and each and every class will be involved in learning in the context of the rich historical and cultural community that we have here in Duns.”

Sky Vantage Productions filmed the choreography from above with the castle in the background. A teaser clip is viewable on the committee’s Facebook page (dunscastle700), and a full edit is expected to be online in July.

Among the key events spearheaded by the committee is a sound and light show designed to enhance the 2020 Duns Summer Festival. Titled ‘Duns 700 Castle & Community,’ or ‘DCC 700’, the event will showcase 700 years of local history and cultural heritage.

It is dependent upon funding, and any organisations wishing to support or sponsor the initiative are kindly invited to contact the committee on Facebook.