A glass was raised in memory of Scotland the What? star George Donald last night as pupils and staff gathered to mark their school’s 175th anniversary.
Mr Donald, who died last year, bequeathed his grand piano to the Gordon Schools in Huntly – where he studied and became the first pupil to get a Higher in music.
While he was ill in hospital, the Huntly-born musician – who along with Buff Hardie and the late Steve Robertson formed the comedy revue act Scotland the What? – called the school and asked if some of the staff could visit him.
Carol Grant, deputy rector at the school, travelled to Perth to meet him and was taken aback when he revealed he wanted to leave the school his Steinway Model B grand piano.
The instrument now has pride of place in the school’s assembly hall, and was formally unveiled last night as pupils and staff from the past and present gathered to celebrate the school’s 175th anniversary.
Mr Donald’s widow Isabelle and children also attended the event, where the piano was used for performances by pupils and staff from the music department.
Mrs Grant said: “We’re delighted with the piano, it’s absolutely beautiful.
“We thought that it was best because it’s such a beautiful piano it should be left in the assembly hall for all to see.
“We’re quite a traditional school and hold prize-giving and school shows in there so the piano will be in full view and get good use.”
The cheese and wine night also marked the launch of a book celebrating the history of the school, compiled by retired teacher Alex Anderson.
Pupils, staff and members of the public all submitted articles and photographs, which Mr Anderson pulled together for A Celebration (175 years of the Gordon Schools).
Mr Anderson, who taught history and psychology at Inverurie Academy before retiring – only to find himself back in the classroom at the Gordon Schools teaching history, modern studies, geography, English, PSE and RMPS – said: “The articles are not just about academics, they are about sport, drama, music, war times and fundraising.
“I’m really delighted with the book.”
Mrs Grant added: “The book has taken a lot of effort to compile and is packed with great stories. Mr Anderson has done a great job of pulling all the stories together.”
The book is now on sale at the school.