No. 200

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2022


Bill Mackay (SH 42-46).

Last October Katrina and Edward Bulger visited the school.
Katrina’s father was at school – W.A.L. (Bill) Mackay (SH 42-46), plus his brother Bertie Mackay (SH 48-53).
We have received the following under Edward’s name.

“My father-in-law W. A. L. (Bill) Mackay is a healthy 93year old living in Wells, Somerset. He and his late, younger brother Bertie were pupils at St Bees during the 1940s and into the early 1950s.

Katrina and I, intrigued by tales of war-time school on the wild Cumbrian coast, visited his old school during a trip to The Lake District last autumn. We were given a very entertaining tour of the premises by Pam Rumney, the wonderful secretary of the OSBs, who showed us the entry dates recorded for both brothers, no doubt nervous lads from Berwick-upon-Tweed as they joined School House as boarders some years apart. Records indicate that Bill won awards in French and Latin in 1945, was an 'A' cadet and was promising on the cricket pitch and at rugger.

His life since then has continued to be distinguished and he was subsequently awarded the OBE, presented by the Queen, for services to local government and the community. 

Bill has fond memories of St Bees School and can still fit into his OSB blazer, which has been miraculously preserved. He has attended the Goodwood Revival Festival wearing it as a period outfit of the classic motor racing era!

Photo may be seen to the right.

We were able to WhatsApp video call Bill at home 300 miles away and show him around his old school, as Pam eloquently took us through the evolution of the school facilities. Bill had great pleasure in being 'face to face' with Pam, with whom he had been in email contact over the years - as well as being shown his old haunts.

St Bees has risen again to the delight of many St Beghians and in a form that accords with its place in the 21st century. Pam was a hugely informative and charming guide and we all thank her very much for hosting us on our visit.”

Katrina later sent this on in a separate email:

“Please find below a few of my father's 'fondest' or certainly most 'memorable' times at school.”

“Even after 75 years some recollections remain and I remember T.A. Brown, Housemaster of Foundation, teaching maths and his wife teaching history – not a subject at which I excelled, and she once described my stupidity as the centre of the universe, which I didn’t think said much for the universe. I always enjoyed sport - rugby, cricket, athletics, and even fives. I particularly remember a House rugby match refereed by the Headmaster, J. Boulter. The forwards were swearing rather loudly, and JB blew his whistle and delivered a lecture on the subject, and finished with the words, ‘I don’t mind damn but I won’t have b----r!’ (roars of laughter!). As is often said, ‘those were the days.’ I am also delighted that the school has revived and the great old buildings are once again in occupation. Long may it continue.

Thank you Pam for kindly giving Edward and Katrina a conducted tour of the school. I am glad no evidence was seen of my name carved on the furniture! As if there would be!!”


OSB Notes - Bill Mackay



The St Beghian Society    
St Bees School,    St Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS

Tel: (01946) 828093     
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