I hope you enjoy the life stories outlined in this book as much as I have. It is wonderful to
read how previous students from Stronsay Junior High School have gone out into the world
of learning and work and contributed so much to society. Although a small island school, the
community of Stronsay has nurtured and guided its children to make the most from
opportunities available. Living on an island is always diverse due to weather, transport and
everyday life. However, success is always down to hard work and dedication by the pupils
with the support of parents, staff and the whole community. Working together has been the
key factor in giving the students the skills to embrace life’s opportunities. They say the first
step in a journey is always the hardest and it is a great privilege to read where these first
steps have led our young people.
I attended Stronsay Junior High School from August 2003 until
June 2014 covering my years from Nursery to S4. I was given a
number of opportunities during this time including learning to play
the cello, fiddle and guitar which led to me completing nine
qualifications with the Royals Boards of Associated Music for
practical and theory; as well as joining the local band, the
Stronsay Silver Darlings and taking part in producing all four of the
CDs. I was also provided with a number of sporting opportunities
including competing at local competitions on the Orkney mainland
and in the Isles as well being a Young Ambassador for sport
attending and presenting at conferences around Scotland.
After S4, I left for the Kirkwall Grammar School with one National 4, six National 5s and one
Int-2. While attending the Kirkwall Grammar School, I stayed at the new Papdale Halls of
Residence with other kids from the Isles and made a lot of friends whom I still regularly see
and keep in contact with now. After completing S6, I left with another National 5, six Highers
and one Advanced Higher and absolutely no clue what I wanted to do. I enjoyed school and
was good at school so going from the same routine every day to something completely new
was very daunting. I liked the idea of going to University but because I didn’t know what I
wanted to do, I found it a waste of time to go and study something that had no meaning to
me. My best option was to go out in the workplace and work out what I wanted to do.
In August 2016, I started the Employability Fund Programme at Orkney College which saw
me complete a number of work placements around different Orkney companies and
organisations. This included administration placements at NHS Orkney and in the North
Walls Community School; a placement in the Papdale Nursery and the Papdale School
kitchen; a placement working at the Salmon factory and an auxiliary nurse placement at
NHS Orkney. This programme was great for me as it gave me the chance to go into different
workplaces and see what I liked and what I disliked as well as allowing me to learn new skills
and meet new people. I really enjoyed the placements and had made a good impression on
NHS Orkney which eventually led to me being offered a Modern Apprenticeship in the Health
Intelligence and Clinical Governance team in February 2017. During my Modern
Apprenticeship, I completed an SVQ2 and SVQ3 in Business and Administration and my
contract was extended three times with me gaining more responsibility every time and extra
In February 2019, I secured a permanent contract as the Quality Improvement Hub Support
Officer at NHS Orkney. The Quality Improvement Hub is made up of a number of
departments at NHS Orkney including Health Intelligence, Clinical Governance, Waiting
Times, Patient Experience, Freedom of Information and Transforming Clinical Services. In
my current job role, I provide PA support to the Head of Transformational Change and
Improvement and the Clinical Quality Advisor as well as support to my team members
through handling diaries, handling personnel files, processing forms, arranging travel and
handling leave requests. In my job role, I do a lot of minute taking, arranging meetings and
collating meeting papers, as well as general administration duties. A very important part of
my job is to support Significant Adverse Event investigations which can be very difficult and
emotionally trying at times but it is great for learning new skills and supporting my team
The NHS has provided me with a great start to my working life and even now after gaining a
full time permanent contract, it still provides me with a lot of opportunities and a lot of
challenges but it’s somewhere where I enjoy working and want to progress my future
working career. My role is very flexible and accommodates commuting to work from
Stronsay or Hoy which is very helpful. Looking back, I am glad I didn’t go to University and I
am happy I went straight into the workplace. There is always opportunity to build up my
qualifications and progress further, I just need to work hard and do my best!
Well I left Stronsay school at 14 with no real idea what I was going to do other than -
hopefully - pass a wide range of o levels. While in 5th year I saw a job advertised for an
admin assistant which I applied for and got. I worked in that job for 15 and a half years
gaining exp in not only admin but finance and reception as well. I still do the same type of
work 30 yrs later and I enjoy it! Looking back, it all worked out well for me. I chose a range of
o levels so I could choose different careers if I wanted to.
I left Stronsay school age 12 went to KGS and lived in the hostel. Started working in Ayre
Hotel age 17 to 27 where I covered many roles including waitressing, reception, barmaid and
chambermaid. I moved to Bedford England, where i gained more experience working in
pubs. I then took on the tenancy of a pub and bought and ran the freehold of a pub in Great
Yarmouth. Age 43 I returned to live in Kirkwall and went back to college where I achieved an
HNC in Tourism and a degree in Scottish Culture Studies. I worked in the tourist office in
Kirkwall for a season and with Adult befriending through Voluntary Action Orkney and then in
Stronsay with the development trust for 18 months. I now enjoy providing home care for the
elderly and have been back to Stronsay to work with the HomeCare team a couple of times.
I went to KGS in 1958/59 after primary school in Stronsay. Was there 1 year then moved to
Stromness Academy when we moved to live in Dounby. After that it was Aberdeen Training
College (TC) for three years teacher training. Started my teaching career in Aberdeenshire
for two years, then Papdale Primary for almost two years. Transferred to Dounby where I
'settled' until retirement in 1997.
Born at Cleat in Stronsay in 1963 and grew up at Whitehall cottage/ Farm. Went to school on
Stronsay until 3rd year when I went in to the KGS Hostel (our class was the first one to get to
stay in Stronsay until 3rd year). Did 3 years at KGS. Went to nursing college in Aberdeen in
1982 to do Registered Sick Children’s Nursing. Then in 1987 I went to college again and did
Registered Nurse training. Moved back to KIRKWALL in 1989. Worked with NHS Orkney
since 1992 until now. Worked as staff nurse, project nurse and then senior management
until became Director of Nursing, Midwives and Allied Health professions in 2007. In 2013
took up secondment as clinical programme lead/ project manager for the new hospital build.
I was at Stronsay school from 1983 until 1989 when we left the island aged 12. I attended
Treorchy Comprehensive school in Rhondda, South Wales, until I was 16 before attending
Llwynipia College and doing Carpentry. I have had numerous jobs over the years which
include working on building sites, factory production, mobile engineer, vending machine
operator etc. Now I work part time as a delivery driver in South Wales for Iceland foods.
I was at Stronsay School from 1986 to Xmas 94 when I went to Inverness college to study
engineering. I currently run my own business in Newcastle.
I arrived on Stronsay, started S2. I stayed until S4. Went to KGS for a year
then went to college and studied childcare. I worked in a few different places -Stronsay
swimming pool, Bar work, Peedie breeks, Enable, Child Contact Centre, now I have full time
employment at Papdale Nursery as an Early Years Practitioner.
At School I was very interested in Sports, and the school helped a lot with this, enabling me
to take P.E as a Standard Grade although it was not an option prior to me asking. Alongside,
I took, 3 Sciences, Maths, English, Craft and Design, French and Geography. From then I
went to KGS for two years before moving to Edinburgh where I am currently studying my
final year in BSc Agriculture. I am doing this to further my own knowledge of farming but also
opens up other options into different careers as a back-up plan.
Moved to KGS in S2. Went to college in Thurso. Back to Ork where I
worked in Evie Primary and the Kirkwall hotel before moving to
Pitlochry. There I worked in a private school for a few years until it
closed. I managed a nursery for 1 year until it closed (seeing a pattern
here...I must have been a jinx!) Then did supply in rural Perthshire. I
then got a job at another preparatory school for 8 years until Ribh was
diagnosed with arthritis and I resigned. During her illness I picked up
wee jobs here and there until I moved to Peebles pregnant with Cian in 2012. I then started
a couple of MLM businesses (Pampered Chef and My Secret Kitchen) as I raised the two
kids. I now am Partnered with an amazing company helping people save and make money
with Utility Warehouse. I am a Team leader and thoroughly enjoy it.
I started school in Stronsay in 1975 and went to Kirkwall Grammar in 1984 for three years to
do my O Grades and Highers. I moved back to Stronsay to work in the post office with mum
and dad. Then got married and had my family. I am still living and working in Stronsay and
am very happy here.
I went to Stronsay School starting in Infants in 1980 until 1991 when I left
The option to take Standard Grades in Stronsay came in the year before I
was due to start 3rd year, and I was so happy to be able to stay in Stronsay
rather than go into KGS. At that time the ro-ro hadn't
started yet and I would have had to stay in the hostel
and only get home once a month, which I didn't like the
idea of at all!
The six standard grades available were English, Maths,
Science, French, Craft & Design and Home
Economics. As my year was just me & Corina Taylor (nee Knight) it was
nearly like private tuition. I'm not sure my exam results would have been
as good if I'd been at KGS! Some classes had the S3 and S4 pupils
together and we looked forward to those for a bit more banter. We also
got machine knitting with Joyce Peace once a week which was the best
fun and you had a grand gansey to end up with too!
I planned to go to KGS for 5th year but was really homesick and ended
up leaving after a month and worked at John Fiddler's shop at the head of the pier, which
now belongs to the Monks.
After 2 years there I moved to Kirkwall. The ro-ro had arrived and made it a much easier
transition. I did an SVQ in Business & Administration at Orkney College and after a variety of
different jobs including working at Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Orkney Islands Council,
and Orkney College UHI, plus some traveling, I am currently living in Western Australia,
working at the Shire of Ashburton, which is the equivalent of Orkney Islands Council. My role
is Development Land and Asset Compliance Support Officer, in the Property & Development
I think growing up in Stronsay and going to a small school gave me a great start in life and I
made friendships which will last forever.
I started Stronsay school in 1985, aged 4 and a half, joining 4 others – 3 of whom would
remain my classmates right up to the end of S4.
Some of the things I remember about my time in the primary department include playing 10
green bottles, sitting on the worktop in the infant room, with Mrs Dennison (Auntie Elsie)
playing the piano. I remember the excitement of the BBC computers and playing king of the
jungle, then the first apple mac arriving, with the Encarta encyclopaedia CD ROM and the
creation of the computer room! I remember the big TV trolley, with the TV and video recorder
on it, that would get wheeled in sometimes to let us watch programmes to help us with
spelling. There were lots of changes to the building during my time there, with the ‘new’
windows, the removal of the old fashioned radiators, the moving of the staff room and so on,
then of course the building of some new classrooms and the swimming pool and all the
associated fundraising everyone was involved in. I remember playing in the humps, the
dumps and the shelter. My first school trip off the island was in P6 I think, when we went to
Kirkwall for a week as it was before the days of the ro-ro. We stayed in the hostel, sleeping
on mattresses on the floor and we went trampolining at KGS and horse riding!
I moved into S1 in 1992, having different classes in different rooms (which wasn’t the case
when I started school), including French in a portakabin where the swimming pool now is! In
1994, we went on a school trip to France, by bus, along with a school from the Inverness
area! My mum became the school cook whilst I was in the secondary, after Liz retired.
When I was in 3rd
year, the subjects I chose to take for my standard grades were Biology,
Craft and Design, English, French, History, Maths and a first for Stronsay school – Art! I
remember making regular use of the darkroom in the school to develop and print black and
white photos. Then in May 1996, the same time as Oasis released Don’t look back in Anger,
we sat our Standard Grades, bringing to an end our wonderful time at Stronsay School.
I spent 2 years at KGS doing my Highers before going on to study a
BA in Marketing at the University of Paisley. Shortly after finishing my
degree, I got a job with the Bank of Scotland, where I have now
worked for over 16 years (no idea where that time went!), doing
various different roles, under various different company names! We
are now known as Lloyds Banking Group and I am currently a
Continuous Improvement Assistant Manager within Commercial
Banking. We work on various projects and use ‘lean’ methodology to
help make our processes as efficient as possible, which in turn helps
us to provide the best Customer service we can! I really enjoy my job,
but can’t actually believe it is now 23 years since I left Stronsay
school!! I must sound so old!!
I have attached a picture of me with my girls, Summer who is 7 and Amber who is 5. We visit
home every summer and the girls love to go to the pool and see the school I went to, which
is so different to the school they go to with a role of around 300!
I started school at the Stronsay North School (now Holmsgarth) and when that school closed
I was seven when I transferred to the Stronsay Junior Secondary School.
I left the Stronsay School when I was 12 and unlike most Stronsay pupils who went to
Kirkwall Grammar School, I went to Stromness Academy when I stayed with an Aunt and
Uncle in Harray. I travelled to school daily by the school bus and only got home to Stronsay
for the school holidays.
At Stromness I studied the normal choice of subjects but I particularly enjoyed the subject
then called Domestic Science (but later became known as Home Economics). As a result of
my interest in Domestic Science and at the age of 17, I left Stromness and continued my
education at the famous Edinburgh College of Domestic Science where I studied to become
a Domestic Science Teacher. At the end of a four year course I qualified as a secondary
school teacher. My first teaching appointment was at Penicuik High School, a secondary
school just outside Edinburgh, teaching cooking and sewing to girls and during this time I
introduced cooking classes for the boys which became very popular.
I taught at Penicuik for 4 years then had a break when my children were born and during this
break from teaching I was a dressmaker for an independent dress designer making
individually created dresses for customers. At this time I worked from home and I also taught
dressmaking two evenings a week at adult education evening classes in the Edinburgh area.
When my children reached school age I returned to teaching craft in our local primary
schools and when I finally stopped teaching I was visiting six primary schools every week.
Although my working life after leaving Stronsay Junior Secondary School has been away
from Stronsay I still return home at least three times every year to visit my Stronsay family
and stay in the house I have bought on the island.
I left school and went to Orkney college to study childcare. I completed the first year, started
the second but left half-way through as I wasn’t enjoying it. I started working full time at the
Reel cafe then moved onto Helgis bar. After around 2 years at Helgis I decided I wanted to
travel so I left there after saving up money and headed off to travel Australia. After 8 months
travelling, I came home and started work at Argos bakery, where I worked for 2 and a half
years. Now I have recently started work at Orkney Dental and currently I am training as a
dental nurse. Not a career path I ever expected to be on, but I am very much enjoying it. If
you don’t try, you don’t know!
I’m Lesley Stevenson originally from the Bu. I started school in
1966 with Mrs Robin Rendall as the p 1 teacher. I didn’t like school
much to start off with and did a fair bit of greetan. I was put in
beside my big brother Eoin to calm me down. I remember she tried
to teach me how to knit. I’m left handed and couldn’t get the hang
of it. I learned years later though. We then went into Mrs Sinclair’s
room. She was a lovely teacher. My personal favourite in the whole school. Then we went in
to Mrs Groat. I remember she called a pessimist. Lastly we were taught by Mr Forrest. I
didn’t go to the grammar school but chose to stay and did 4 o levels from Stronsay. (I did
English, arithmetic, food & nutrition and fabric & fashion), only going into the grammar school
to sit the exams. We were in composite classes all through the school, we had a few visiting
teachers for different topics. I loved school dinners. Some of my favourites being homemade
steak pie and Cornish pastie. Liz of Mount Pleasant was a great dinner lady. I went on to be
a cook but now teach folk how to train their dogs.
I studied at Stronsay School up until the end of P7 as I opted to go to KGS. I studied a
mixture of subjects and left school with fairly high standard grade results and a few highers. I
studied for a year at Orkney College then found full time employment. I didn't know what I
wanted to do then and still don't! There is no wrong path in life and I've taken a wealth of
experience from my working life. I would advise taking advantage of education while it's free
I left Stronsay School when I was 15 and went to KGS for 5th and 6th year. I then moved to
Aberdeen to study BSc Sport and Exercise Science at the Robert Gordon University. After 4
years I graduated with a first class honours degree and moved back home.
I initially worked as a Leisure Assistant at Picky for a short time, and well as helping out on
the farm at home! I then worked as a Customer Service Assistant in the Bank of Scotland for
When the new KGS opened, I was really pleased to get the job of Duty Officer for the sport
and community use of the building. After a short time I was promoted to Senior Duty Officer
for all OIC Sport and Leisure facilities following the retirement of my line manager.
I am currently on maternity leave but plan to return to this post when the bairns are a bit
Left Stronsay School aged 12 and lived in the school hostel until I was 18. While at school I
worked in the Ayre Hotel as a waitress to begin with and then in reception. Went to
Edinburgh to study an HND at Napier. Came home and worked again in reception in the
Ayre Hotel until I was 24 when I went to work at Price and Long local accountancy firm
where I’ve been since. I have gained my professional qualifications AAT & ATT while
I went to Dounreay atomic power station and served my time as an electrician. I worked in
the oil industry most of my life. I recently retired from a position of maintenance supervisor /
chief engineer on a Floating Production vessel based in the Philippines.
Bill Miller, born 9th November, 1943, at 27, The Station,
Stronsay, which was the middle of the three cottages which
now make up the monks shed at the Lower Station. Youngest
of 4 children born to Johnno and Maggie Miller. Moved up the
road to Glenmanna in 1948. Attended Stronsay Junior
Secondary School until 1958, in which year I was Dux of the
School. With three other boys who were going to blacken me,
accidentally broke a large window, and got six of the strap from
Mr Forrest. Was supposed to go to school until the next
Tuesday but started work at Clestrain Farm on the Monday .
Worked there as cattleman/farm labourer until June 1962 when
I went to North Ronaldsay to help build an extension on the pier
with the contractor, Pat Sutherland. Came back to Stronsay when work stopped for the
winter and worked at The Lodge for a few months until going back to North Ronaldsay again
in the spring. On 24th June, 1963, joined the Metropolitan Police in a London and spent 13
weeks at Hendon Police College learning all about the law etc. after which I was posted to
Kentish Town Police Station in North London. In 1965, I moved to Kings Cross Police
Station, where I served until May 1966, when I joined the CID at West End Central Police
Station in Saville Row in central London. As a trainee CID officer, I dealt with arresting pick
pockets, burglars, murderers etc etc, and one day while looking for pick pockets, came
across a team of armed robbers as they were about to rob a bank. One robber had a sawn-
off shotgun and another had a Fairy Liquid bottle filled with double strength industrial
ammonia. Three of us were sprayed with the ammonia and threatened with the shotgun.
One colleague was hit full blast in the eye with the ammonia as a result of which he lost his
eye and had to retire from the Police. We managed to hold on to the man with the ammonia
and later arrested the man with the shotgun plus several more of this robbery gang. In 1973,
I transferred to City Road Police Station in East London where I again dealt with all sorts of
crime including the murder of a retired Police Sergeant from Cyprus. In 1975. I transferred to
the Criminal Intelligence Department at New Scotland Yard where I was in charge of
collating information on London’s top criminals and selecting them to be made “target
criminals “ to be followed by teams from the Flying Squad and Regional Crime Squads until
they were caught committing a crime. In 1978, I was promoted to Sergeant,and as was the
rule at that time, had to return to uniform for one year. I served my year at Shepherds Bush
Police Station where I had 20 Constables to supervise. We dealt with all sorts of incidents
there including riots which were taking place at that time. We also covered three football
stadiums, Queen’s Park Rangers, Fulham and Chelsea. I was usually put in charge of
controlling the pitch at QOR with about 20 PCs which was quite interesting. After my year
back in uniform,I moved back to the West End as a Detective Sergeant at Bow Street Police
Station. Again, I had to deal with all types of crime from burglary, to murder. One murder I
dealt with was of a prostitute who was lured to the very posh London Savoy Hotel in the
Strand, abs stabbed 55 times by a maniac, who then left the scene. We traced him the next
day in Southend where I arrested him and he was later convicted at the Old Bailey, London’s
Central Criminal Court. In 1981, I transferred to the Flying Squad and initially was employed
investigating the “Brixton Riots”, where crowds of hooligans were setting fire to shops and
looting goods from them. After this on the Flying Squad, we dealt with all the London armed
robberies, mostly robberies at banks, post offices and security vans. One robber I dealt with
became a “supergrass” for me and admitted 106 offences of armed robbery, possessing
guns, stealing getaway cars etc, and he gave evidence for me against 32 other bank
robbers. In November, 1983, an armed robbery occurred at the Brinks Mat Security vaults at
Heathrow when robbers stole 3 tons of gold bars valued at 26 million pounds. We arrested 3
of the robbers 10 days later and the went to prison for 25 years. We found 11 gold bars and
arrested several people for handling the gold and cash they got after the gold was melted
down and re-sold. Sadly while following those people, a colleague, Detective Constable
John Fordham was stabbed 11 tines by one of the criminals and died of his injuries .I spent
the next ten years tracing where the money from the sale of the stolen gold had gone, and
this took me to banks in Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Ireland, South Africa, Isle of Man,
Channel Islands and America. For the last 5 years there was only two of us on the enquiry,
and by the time I retired in October, 1993, we had recovered £26 million in cash and
property such as houses and property developments. One of my last jobs before I retired
was to do the parole report for Kenneth Noye, the criminal who killed my colleague. I stated
that he would undoubtedly kill again , and sure enough, after he got out of prison, he
stabbed a boy to death on the M25 in a road rage killing.
In October 1993, I came back to live in Stronsay and took up lobster fishing in my boat Nora,
which I did until I retired in 2008. In between times I built the new three bedroomed
Glenmanna, and also built on a two bedroom and bathroom extension at Airy Cottage. I was
a member of the Stronsay RNLI committee for about 20 years and moved in to Kirkwall in
2013. I am a member of the Kirkwall RNLI fundraising team, and Chairman of the Orkney
Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, where we provide physiotherapy, massage and oxygen
therapy to some 40 clients suffering from MS.
Left Stronsay JS at 12 years old. Went to KGS for four years. Loved school, disliked the
hostel so four years was enough after gaining “O” levels. Highers would have been great but
couldn’t do more hostel. At that point I completed my application to train as a nurse. Soon
after that I became sick at the sight of blood so thankfully I had done commercial subjects
and opted for office work instead. Other circumstances took me to Huntingdonshire, England
so took on a job as Nanny to two little girls for six months. (It was “live in” so I didn’t have
rent to worry about).
I went back to Stronsay for a year after that and did housekeeping for an 88 year old lady.
My next job was my first office work at Rosemount Engineering Co in Chichester, Sussex. I
worked in the Drawing Office. The company made aircraft parts for Hawker Sidley and it was
very interesting. I then moved to Kent and worked at Kimberley Clark, in the personnel
office. A very interesting time there as we had illegal immigrants appearing almost every day
off boats, looking for work and being taken on by the Managing Director!
I then lived abroad for a few years, in Cyprus. Back in the UK I went to Elgin Technical
College to update my Pittman’s Quals. I did temp work at British Aluminium Co in Inverness
and other ad hoc jobs to swell the holiday coffers etc. Then I did a spell of around 10/11
years as school secretary at Duncan Forbes Primary School at Culloden, the school my
children attended I got all the school hols, brilliant head teacher, wonderful PTA and a young
vibrant community made up of people from all areas, of all disciplines, races, etc, etc, just
Bought a hotel, went to college to learn about that. Interesting but not my best move, so sold
up and joined Aquascot Marketing at Artafallie on the Black Isle (in a portacabin) It was after
I started there I learned how to switch on a computer! A purpose built factory followed in
Alness and I became an internal auditor as well as learning all about writing procedures to
meet the requirements of BS5750. The company was the first salmon factory in Scotland to
be certificated with BS5750.
I moved to Orkney in 1993 and worked with a business here who then became the first
Orcadian company to be thus certificated. I then set up on my own with help from HIE to
provide businesses with their own bespoke Quality Management Systems, in 1994. Word of
mouth recommendations brought in contracts in various sectors in Orkney, across in
Caithness and down to Inverness. I can honestly say I was very lucky in every job I had. My
employers were very fair, I was paid good wages, but I loved being my own boss best. I
retired years ago because I could, but the person who carried on the business asked me to
do some work last year and I accepted so I have now worked up in Shetland too
I am an ex pupil of Stronsay School. When I first moved to Stronsay in
1986, I went into P7, which Marion Orr taught. There was another girl in
that class & a boy, who moved away during S1. When we reached S3, it
was the first year of Standard Grades being introduced to the school. We
studied English, Maths, French, Science, Home Economics and Craft &
Design. I really enjoyed my time at Stronsay School, especially French
lessons with Mrs Rosie in the portakabin! As my birthday isn't until the
end of the year, I stayed on at school after 4th year exams until
Christmas, where amongst other courses, I did a course with Orkney
College by telephone link, where I wrote on a special notepad & the writing showed up on
the screen in town! How technology has changed since then!!
I am now a mum to three boys, as well as being a Support for Learning Assistant part time,
working in a tearoom & having a sewing business which I run from home.
I left Stronsay School in 1994 I did caring skills for a year and then did hairdressing and
worked in Stromness for a year until I met a juggler (true story haha!!) and went off to
Birmingham initially and then onto Reading where I did hairdressing and barbering. Sadly, I
got very poorly with anxiety so came back home to Stronsay after 8 months away. I’m not
sure how long I was in Stronsay for but I went back to Kirkwall and worked until mum and
dad sold Lower Leaquoy in 1999, we moved to Thornton (just outside Blackpool). I did
barbering for a few years until dad and mum separated so we came back to Kirkwall with
dad. I worked in a salon but was keen to get back south once dad was settled, I did move
back to Blackpool but circumstances yet again led me back to Kirkwall in February 2002. I
met my now ex-husband in the July and we got married the following June, we opened a
salon and photography studio for 2 years but my anxiety was really bad again so we closed
the salon. I had my son the following September, he was very poorly with epilepsy and had
lots of other health conditions and behaviour problems. His sister was born 19 months later
and I spent a lot of years signed off work due to extreme anxiety and panic attacks. If I
hadn't been signed off for that I wouldn't have still been able to work as Kyle was so poorly
and had several trips to hospital both here and Aberdeen. Despite that in 2009, when Kyle
was at nursery his educational psychologist suggested someone make him a book with his
interests to see if we could engage him so I went home and made 'Larry the lawnmower'
which was a pull apart book and the beginning of my business Flutterbug Creations. I got a
start-up grant from business gateway and ran my business for 6 years getting 4 books self-
published and selling in the top 3 online disability sites in the UK. I left my then husband in
2012, in 2015 I had a little girl to my current husband and when we got married in 2016 I
reinvented myself and my creativity as Claire Kirkpatrick Art. I somehow stumbled into what I
do now - I'd seen word art for a while and wondered about putting all of the Orkney Islands
on a wooden heart, I shared it to Orkney Past and Present and genuinely I was not prepared
for the attention it got. I was asked to do other areas and it grew really quickly, I took on my
first member of staff Elaine (who still works for me) it grew so much that I took on another 5
people within the first 6-8 months but they were all self-employed. I was spending too much
on wages so spoke to my accountant and agreed I should employ rather than do self-
employment so 3 of them left, Elaine became a proper employee and I took 3 others on, it
was really hard earlier this year so I stripped the business right back to just me and Elaine,
it’s a lot of work but much less stressful now! Growth into lots of employees isn't always the
best for businesses but there’s always such pressure to do it, I now have almost 500 areas
covered all over Britain and supply over 80 businesses from the Shetland Islands down to
Cornwall, with Elaine's help (and me having more experience) the business pretty much runs
without much input from me so I can now do things I love which is creating and currently
painting (dogs mainly) I'm in a much better place, I still struggle with anxiety but it's much
more manageable now, it changed so much when I passed my driving test as I could leave
the house without feeling too vulnerable, in 2016 my oldest was diagnosed with autism, its
been an incredibly hard journey but he's the most lovely lad, my other 2 do really well too,
we live with my in laws in Stromness, my mother in law has a rare condition called multi
system atrophy so she's fully dependent on us for absolutely everything, toileting, clothing,
food (she's peg fed etc) I do the bulk of her care with the carers as my father in law is now
80 and not fit which is why we moved in 5 years ago. It's a busy, crazy, hectic house but
despite it all I'm the happiest and most settled I've ever been. I love Stronsay, it never leaves
you despite not being back for a lot of years, it was my home and in many ways always will
be despite not living there. I'm so proud of how everyone pushes it there now and the
creativity - my goodness!! My favourite things at school was 100% lunchtimes - Liz was a
fantastic cook!! Funniest memory would be Mrs Rosie getting locked out of the school when
we had French in the portocabin!! Stronsay is 100% massive!
I attended Stronsay school from the time my family moved here, in 2004, until I left to attend
KGS, in 2012. I loved every second and had a lot of fun with my classmates and teachers
alike, building memories I will have forever. After I left KGS, I applied to university to do
primary teaching and after gaining an unconditional offer I decided to defer, to let me weigh
up my options. Having never really contemplated life after school, other than going on to
study at university, I started working on my family farm at the age of 17. I loved it and I think I
totally surprised my whole family as well as myself on how I’d evolved over the years there.
At the age of 18 I cancelled my place at Uni and decided to stay on the farm. Since then I
have now done over 5 years full time, being the longest full-time employee we have.
Growing from being a ‘helper’ to doing stuff like feeding all the cattle in the winter, carting
silage, spreading slurry, fencing, dung spreading, drainage, mowing, topping, power-
harrowing, all with machines I never thought I’d be able to use. I’ve done book work;
managing invoices, registering calves, ordering supplies and managing any
income/expenses through our new system.
I qualified to be a lifeguard in 2016 and I did 2 and a half years at the local Swimming Pool. I
also gained my personal licence which allows me to open the bar at the Community Hall as
well as, on occasion, look after the Stronsay Hotel when the owners are away. I am currently
the Chair of the Stronsay Community Association and a member of the Stronsay Sprites,
who help organise Stronsay’s massive weekend.
In my personal life, my Husband and I recently purchased an old house at the end of last
year with intentions to renovate it. We also got a dog in February; Fly. I am proud of
everything I’ve done through working at home and to help grow my family’s business.
Working so close to the centre of the business lets you see the consequences of your
actions, good or bad. I had been under the impression for so long that because I had never
shifted from where I was when I left school, I hadn’t achieved anything. I was told you had to
work somewhere else to know what it’s like to have a real job. But for me, every decision I
make in my personal life revolves around the farm and my family’s schedule to, hopefully,
lessen the burden of working a 24/7 job, for everyone. It was the best decision I have made.
I could have gone on to Uni and gone down a completely different path but I know, for
myself, I wouldn’t change this for the world.
I left Stronsay School to start 3rd year at KGS, stayed at KGS until the end of 6th year. On to
college and then Uni in Aberdeen to study accountancy. Then off to Canada with Val (she
would be a good one to ask too) for a few months travelling. Back home to Orkney to work at
Scholes for a year or so. Then moved to Ireland working in accountancy in the property
sector. Then off to Australia for 6+years, working in accountancy all the time, at Sydney Uni,
a couple of telcos, and a travel company. Back home to work at Orcadia and part time
management accounting for Restart. Then off for maternity leave and now work from home
as a self-employed finance support contractor. Accounting wasn’t the most awe-inspiring
thing to study, but I will say this for it, you will always get a job, wherever you are in the
I left Stronsay school when I was 14 and completed S5 at KGS. I
studied at a drama school in LA for a year and a half before moving to
London. I worked several different jobs within my first year there; I was
a bookseller in Waterstones, worked in several different departments
at Harrods and then as a waitress in a cafe. I still keep up waitress
work when I’m between acting jobs. But this year I’ve filmed a guest
role for a BBC show and a new series for Netflix. I was embarrassed
to tell people when I was younger, that I wanted to be an actor,
because it felt so impossible and out of reach. And I did spend a long time writing to people
who never replied or auditioning for jobs I didn’t get. But I got the jobs that were right for me
and met people along the way who have been so happy to help and give advice. I think if
you have something you want to do, you’ve got to give it a shot. There’s no rule saying it
wasn’t meant for you.
I left Stronsay school when I was 15 and went to KGS to carry on my education there. I left
KGS when I was 17, held a job at The Pickaquoy Centre as a lifeguard till August! Then in
September I started an NC Childcare course at Orkney College and work at Peedie Breeks
at the same time.
I started school after the Easter holidays in 1962, a daunting experience in those days with
no playgroup, nursery or pre-school where you get to know your classmates before you
started into “big school”. The only people I knew were my two bigger cousins and can
remember being a bit wary of this big place! I got on ok though and must have settled in
okay and can still remember the delight in learning to read.
One thing I can remember very well from early days at school, I couldn’t see what the
teacher wrote on the blackboard and if we had to copy anything down I had to ask whoever
was sitting next to me what was written up there, I would have been 6 or 7 and thought it
was just something strange about me, but no, the teacher must have picked up on this and it
was discovered I needed glasses! Then school-work became much better, I could see so
My favourite subjects was English, I really liked writing stories and spelling, which I used to
be good at while I was still at school. I also liked history but not so keen on maths. I enjoyed
my primary school days and was very keen to learn. At that time your only option to go
further study and exams was to go into KGS at 1st year. I was very keen to do this, but I
doubt it just didn’t work out! I was newly 12, I had never been away from home on my own
before and although I was excited and happy when I set of on the boat for Kirkwall I just
couldn’t cope with being away from home, the hostel was something so different, the school
so big and the prospect of only getting home once a term I just couldn’t handle it, after a
short time I came back to Stronsay school and into secondary, much happier.
Then I discovered another subject I had a passion for, handcraft and cooking. Liz Stevenson
from Mount Pleasant was our teacher for this and I loved it. I left Stronsay school in 1972 at
the age of 15. My class was the last class to be able to leave at this age, with pupils in the
class below having to go on until they were 16. I worked at home, doing housework and
helping out on the farm for about a year.
Orkney college was just in its very early days at this time and offered a very few courses but
one of these courses was in catering and I was lucky enough to get a place on it in 1973,
including being able to stay in the school hostel. By this time I was 16 and could handle
things a lot better. I thoroughly enjoyed the course, which was only for 1 year. I passed my
exams, applied for a job in the School kitchen and came home to Stronsay to work there. I
worked alongside Liz Stevenson, who had been school cook for the past 17 years! After a
break of some years while I brought up our girls I was back in that same kitchen taking over
from Liz as the cook when she retired, the same Liz who had started me off on my passion
for cooking, and I was there for the next 23 years.
After leaving Stronsay School I went to KGS for 5th
year, and then to the University of
Aberdeen to study a BSc in Ecology. During my studies I started working for the School of
Biological Sciences doing videography and marketing, for which I travelled to beautiful
places across Scotland. Concurrently, I also undertook volunteering with Saving Scotland’s
Red Squirrels and various other organisations through UoA Conservation Society. For my
Honour’s research project, I camped on a 7-hectare uninhabited island in the Firth of Forth to
study interactions between puffins and great black-backed gulls. I was invited to London to
discuss my findings at an event in Parliament, as well as an academic conference in
Glasgow, which sparked an interest in pursuing research as a career. I am currently
undertaking a research master’s degree, where I will investigate seabird bycatch in the
Mediterranean pelagic longline fleet. This research will be supervised jointly by an academic
from UoA and an EU policy advisor from Birdlife International, Brussels, and will directly
inform policy recommendations.
Left school worked in my Dads grocer/butcher shop in Whitehall Village, moved to Kirkwall
trained as a nurse at Balfour hospital, moved to Edinburgh did private nursing in Dunoon,
moved back to Edinburgh worked at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, did private nursing, moved
back to Orkney to Sanday, moved to Shapinsay did district nursing in Shapinsay, Sanday
and Stronsay. Opened a bed and breakfast/restaurant in Shapinsay, moved to Elgin worked
as a housekeeper, moved to Keith worked as a care assistant, opened a craft shop, became
a Councillor, opened another shop, now running the Keith Kilt and Textile Centre for the last
11 years. Got an MBE for my efforts and the highlight of my working life is it has all been
I was at Stronsay from P1 to S2 then onto KGS from S3-S5. As for jobs I have done
everything; worked at Olivebank, lifeguarding, hall caretaker, delivery person and rubbish
collector, helped with swim club, games club and the slaughter-house. Also worked at the
fishmart, all of these jobs just in Stronsay! I then moved to Torphins and worked in the local
Scotmid before getting a job at Sunshine Nursery. I started at the bottom and got my
qualification, level 2 and 3 in childcare whilst doing the job and left there being in charge of
the whole baby unit. Then went back to Scotmid until I moved back to Stronsay. Then as you
all know I helped at the fishmart before starting at the school!
I started nursery in Stronsay and continued my education right through to fourth year. I am
glad I chose to stay in third year as it allowed me to be taught on a one to one basis
opposed to being in classes of 30+ pupils at a larger school. This allowed me to stay at
home on the island which I feel particularly helped me towards my final exam results as I
had a large support network behind me. My standard grade subjects and results were: Craft
and Design (1), French (1), Home Economics (1), Music (1), Geography (1), English (2),
Biology (2) and Maths (3). I also learnt to play the fiddle with weekly tuition from Mrs
Maxwell, and still play today in several bands. Stronsay School
helped my career by sending me on the four day ‘Sea Survival
techniques’ course which consisted of one day Sea Survival, one
day of Basic First Aid Training, Basic Fire fighting and P.S.S.R
training. These four courses allowed me to apply for the summer
stewards job on the North Isles Ferries at 16 years of age. I
completed two summers aboard the Earl Thorfinn, earning fantastic
wages for someone just leaving school at £108/day, on a one week
on, one week off rota. I had to wait two years for a job opportunity to
come up with Orkney Ferries, but when the time came I applied and
got the job of Cook. I then trained to become Chief Steward and
covered in my time off. A Chief Stewards job came up in April 2018, (which I missed my
interview for!) – however I got the promotion and changed over to the Varagen – which lies
in Stronsay every week – Bonus!
My name is Duncan Kenneth MacRae and I was born in Stronsay on 5th September 1954. I
was the third person to be christened in the then new Moncur Memorial Church.. My parents
owned the Stronsay hotel and were there from 1953-1961. My Grandparents had the original
Stronsay Hotel in the 1930s until it burned down in September 1939. My grandfather then
had the West End Hotel in Kirkwall in 1946. (I believe that he actually gave the West End
Hotel its name). My Grandparents then moved to Inverness and lived there until the 1960's
Neither my parents nor grandparents were native Orcadians (they were all either from
Wester Ross or Invernes-shire). However they all had lifelong Orcadian attachments. My
father's sister Maureen was also born in Stronsay in the 1930s.
I only attended the primary school from about 1958 until my parents moved to Golspie in
Sutherland where they bought the Stag's Head Hotel. This move was precipitated by my
grandmother's death in a car accident in Inverness shire.
My earliest memories are from Stronsay Primary school, Mrs Maxwell my teacher and to this
date I have been in regular contact with many of my old fellow students. Many of whom have
been lifelong friends.
My upbringing was in the hotel trade, however my career was to take a different direction.
On leaving High School in Golspie in 1972 I attended Napier in Edinburgh and did a 4 year
degree in Science with Industrial Studies. This was the first degree to offer students two six
month stints in industry as part of the syllabus and when I left in 1976 I had a stab at a post
graduate qualification in Personnel Management. That didn't work out for either me or my
long suffering lecturers so I applied for jobs in Industry.
In 1978 I secured a graduate traineeship with the Distillers Company, (what is now Diageo).
I worked for 18 years with Diageo, To begin with I worked in Distillers Head Office in
Edinburgh for a year and then on the shop floor in each of the five Grain Distilleries which
Distillers owned at that time.
Caledonian Distillery in Haymarket in Edinburgh. Carsebridge Distillery in Alloa (at that time
this was the biggest Grain distillery in the world) Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife ( Still in
production), Cambus Distillery in Clackmannanshire and Port Dundas Distillery in Glasgow.
A Grain distillery uses a different process than a Malt Distillery and typically will produce as
much alcohol in a week as a Malt Distillery like HP or Scapa can produce in a year.
They are huge alcohol factories, producing approx 5000 litres of grain alcohol per still at
94.1% alcohol by volume per hour, 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a continuous
process. Carsebridge had three stills when I worked there. Process by products included
CO2 gas which was liquified on site and tankered out as Distillers CO2 to put the fizz in soft
drinks. At Port Dundas we would produce over 200 tonnes of liquified CO2 in a week.
Animal feed was also a by product.
I ended up in Cambus Distillery and finished there as Assistant Manager in 1992.
In 1992 In was asked to travel to London to become Operations manager with Gordons Gin
at their bottling plant. I worked there in various roles until 1996 when In was asked to join
Glenmorangie as part of a small team to modernise and automate a lot of the business. This
was successfully completed and the business was sold to the luxury French business LVMH
in about 2005-6
I stayed with Glenmorangie and held a number of senior positions within the organisation
until I left the business in 2009 and retired to West Linton in the Borders.
In all this time we regularly came back to Orkney. I've always had an affinity with the islands
which is hard to explain. I have come back at least every 2 years since I left in 1961.We
moved here permanently at the beginning of 2018.
I was born in Stronsay and attended Stronsay School from 1961 until 1970. Back then, the
only way to get any formal school qualifications (at that time it would have been ‘O’ grades)
was to go to Kirkwall Grammar School at about eleven or twelve years old, staying in the
School Hostel and only getting home once or twice a term. As a farmer at heart this certainly
didn’t appeal to me so I didn’t follow that route. I left school at fifteen, my only qualification
being a certificate for passing my Cycling Proficiency Test! I went straight to work on the
family farm, going on to do a three year course at Weyland Agricultural College, which I
attended in weekly blocks 6 times a year for much of the theory aspect of the course and
getting the practical experience home on the farm. I worked on the same farm all my life until
retiring from farming a couple of years ago.
Over the last fifty years I’ve seen farming evolve from a hard but fairly simple life into a
business tied up in more and more red tape where making a mistake on a form or missing a
deadline can have huge financial implications and the need for a sound education has
become more and more apparent. Since the introduction of Standard Grades about thirty
years ago and the chance for pupils to have a more rounded education along with the
opportunity to gain qualifications at Stronsay School I’ve also seen a transformation at our
school. I’ve watched it evolve into a facility where the learning environment is second to
none and pupils are given the opportunity to follow a path that suits them, whether it be
vocational or academic, and be able to move seamlessly to further education off Stronsay if
that is their wish. Looking back, I’m disappointed that I didn’t have those options open to me
when at school but hope that today’s pupils will see and appreciate the opportunities on
offer, make the most of their time at school and come to realise that this may well define the
rest of their lives.
I attended Stronsay School from P1 to S4. I had a year home farming at Odiness and then
went to Weyland (Orkney College) to study Agriculture for 3 years with Odiness as a
placement. I worked at Odiness full time until I went to Aberdeen for a short time and worked
at Aberdeen and Northern Marts as a yardsman but returned to farm at Odiness after an
outbreak of foot and mouth.
I attended the school from P1 until S4. I left in June 1999 and did two years at KGS. At the
end of 6th year I went down to Glasgow to Strathclyde University. I did a year in their city
centre campus where I was embarking on a psychology degree with a view to doing a
teaching Postgraduate at the end of it, however my heart wasn't in it as I just wanted to
teach so after my 1st year I moved to Jordanhill and did teacher training. The intention was
that I'd study in Glasgow then come home when I qualified but things don't always turn out
as planned, I'm still down here 18 years later!
I taught for 10 years then decided to take a Career Break after I had my second peedie one.
When she turned 1 I joined Usborne Books at Home and School and I'm working hard at
building up my very own little book business. I still get to work with schools but without the
stress and pressures of teaching, it's fab! Right now I hope not to return to teaching but you
never know what the future holds!
I left Stronsay School after 4th year and went to KGS to do 5th and 6th year. I then went to
the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen where I did a Diploma of Higher Education in
Nursing. After qualifying as a Staff Nurse, I worked in the Acute Medical Admissions Unit at
ARI for 7 months before deciding to return home to Orkney. I worked on the nurse bank for 3
months before securing a permanent post in the Male/Acute ward where I worked for 13
years. In 2014 I got a job in the Day Surgery Unit, where I am still working. I am now doing a
part time job-share as Senior Registered Nurse in the Unit. Over the past 2 years I have
been doing a course with the Open University whilst working and I have recently graduated
with a Bsc Honours in Nursing Practice.
I left Stronsay J S School at 15 and worked as a housekeeper for one of our local teachers
and her family. I then did the same job for our local Dr and his wife. I married into farming
and alongside that start a Self-Drive car hire and Taxi service. I did that for 19 years. After
leaving the island, I got involved with voluntary work. I trained as a Cruse Bereavement Care
counsellor and also worked with Voluntary Services Orkney. In my spare time I took an
English course at the college. After moving on to live in Inverness, I found myself becoming
a relief cook for two Nursing Homes eventually settling into head cook for one of them. Then
I took a complete change of direction and got a job in a secondary school as an Auxilliary
working with children with Asperger's Syndrome. I finally decided to become my own boss
again and bought a Guesthouse which I ran for 17 years. I continue to do that except that it
is a much smaller Guesthouse and now take life a little bit slower!
I left school in 2011 after S4. I studied English, chemistry, biology, craft &
design, home economics, geography, music, French and maths. I really
enjoyed going to Stronsay school and enjoyed the subjects I took. Now I
have been working as a Social Care Assistant working with elderly
residents with dementia for the last 3 years and I am proud of how far I
have come to get here today.
I attended Stronsay school until I was 10 years old in 1998. I left and went to 3 different
schools in England before returning to Scotland (Montrose) and completing school there. I
did at this point have various university places but I instead moved back down to England
and worked in a subway sandwich shop for a few years. I then returned to Montrose and
started working in Aberdeen hospital, that was in 2010. A few more moves (Peterborough
and to Milton Keynes) many health care jobs and a child later I started studying to become a
mental health nurse with the open university, I'm due to qualify next year. My son is 4 and
has just started his school journey here in Milton Keynes. I've only visited Stronsay once in
all the years since I moved and that was in 2002 when I was 14 but would absolutely bring
my son up soon!
I left the school in 1967 to go into 1st year at KGS (the one which
is now the Council Offices). I stayed in the Hostel in Old Scapa
Road (now the Youth Hostel) and hated every minute of it!! I left
KGS after my O levels with the intention of going to Commercial
College in Aberdeen but got a job in an insurance office
(Commercial Union Assurance in Castle Street - where Radio
Orkney is now) instead - my thoughts being that I could go to
college for two years and still end up with the same type of job I
got and the thought of earning wages appealed to me more!! I worked there for 12 years
until I left to have my family. I was a stay at home Mum for about 15 years and went back to
work at Papdale Primary School in 1997 as a Support for Learning Assistant, gaining an NC
in SfLA studies at Orkney college. I retired in 2012 to look after my grandchildren while my
daughter went back to work!
I left school in 1991 after finishing my highers and not sure what I wanted to do. I worked as
a waitress in Kirkwall for 6 months to help me work it out. I moved to London when I wax 17
to train as a Montessori teacher- I then worked as a teacher/ nanny/ maternity nurse for 4-5
years. I worked mostly as a live in teacher/ nanny. Doing this allowed me to meet lots of
different people and travel more than I would have had the chance to otherwise. I then
worked as a knitwear designer and had a shop in Camden Market whilst also working part
time as a live in carer for a family with a very poorly young girl (who thankfully is now well
and thriving!) I then went back to college to do a degree in object conservation. I worked
briefly at Exeter Museum as an exhibition conservator. I then began working for Historic
Royal Palaces as a preventive conservator and have been there for just over 20 years. I
have had quite a few roles since I began working for HRP- I am currently Senior Preventive
Conservator for Hampton Court and Kew Palace. Whilst working at HRP, I have completed
an MA in Museum Studies and am currently doing a post grad. diploma in Art and Law. I
happily represent Preventive Conservation on the national heritage conservation committee
(Icon) and am fairly ‘active’ in the, admittedly- very geeky and slightly odd world of museum
conservation. I still live in London which we (mostly) love but happily escape to Orkney (&
other bits of the country) whenever we can.
I attended Stronsay School, then progressed onto KGS where I attended S5 and S6, during
my time in S6 I applied for the Royal Air Force, specialising as an RAF regiment gunner;
specialising in infantry tactics, weaponry, field craft, and force protection. Carrying out a
range of crucial duties to defend RAF bases and overseas air operations. I started training in
February 2018 known as phase 1 training and began phase 2 training in July 2018 and
became a member of the regiment on the 25th November 2018 where I was placed at 63
squadron also known as the Queen’s Colour Squadron. A squadron like no other, being the
only ceremonial unit within the entire RAF, we become the Queen’s guards during the
summer months guarding Buckingham Palace, St James palace, The Tower of London and
Windsor castle. We also conduct royal taskings such as the commemoration of the 75th
anniversary of D-DAY where President Trump and Her Majesty payed their respects, tattoos
such as the Edinburgh tattoo and other tattoos like Virginia, Washington and Cyprus. I’d
highly recommend the RAF to anyone who is willing to put the effort in, you can also find lots
of videos of the squadron on the Queen’s Colour Squadrons Facebook page or on YouTube.
I went to Stronsay School, left there and went into farming, still farming now. I also work as
The Pier Master and Shipping Agent for Orkney Ferries.
I left the Stronsay School in 1951 and moved on to KGS. Was there till 1957, then went to
Aberdeen College of Education, as they wanted to call it then, for three years' teacher
training. Returned to Orkney in 1960 when I was appointed to the then Kirkwall Grammar
School Primary Department and began teaching in what is now the Council Offices. I was
moved to Papdale Infant Department and remained there for 21 years, teaching P1 and 2.
Just before the end of that time I was promoted to Deputy Head, and in 1981 was made
Headteacher. I got early retirement in 1995.
I attended Stronsay School from primary one until secondary two and thoroughly enjoyed my
time there, I just loved school. I went off to KGS at the beginning of S3 and did a year there,
but unfortunately became ill. At that point I spent a long time off school and eventually it was
agreed that I needed to take time out to recover from my illness without any stress. After a
year out I tried to go back to school full time but still wasn’t able to be in school without
becoming over tired, so I took a little longer off. During that time I got married and bought a
house on Stronsay and I kindo resigned myself to the fact that my education was over.
However I really felt that I had missed out on getting some qualifications and so I went back
to school at Stronsay Junior High and sat in on some Maths lessons with Dr Tateson and
some English lessons with Mr MacDonald. Having achieved my standard grade Maths and
English as an adult returner, I then applied for a job at the school as a support for learning
assistant. This was a very small post just five hours a week but I was thrilled to be
successful. I worked in that post with Mrs Elsie Dennison in lower primary for the next 11
year and completed some short courses at Orkney College in the first year. The post
expanded to more hours and time spent supporting upper primary and secondary classes
too. The next year in 1998 nursery provision started at the school and I applied for and was
appointed as an unqualified nursery nurse. I returned to Orkney college and studied for two
years to get my HNC and become qualified for the post. I stayed in nursery for 10 years and
thoroughly enjoyed my time there.
After completing the HNC I applied for and was accepted on the BA Child and Youth Studies
Degree, at Orkney College. It took me four years to complete this course and during that
time I won Orkney College overall Student of the Year Award and was presented with a
bursary from the Orcadian to help me in my continuing studies.
When I finished my degree I was slightly lost and missed studying, so decided to do my
Higher English, I studied through Inverness College as there were no tutors in Orkney at the
time. I sat my final exam at Stronsay School though. Once I had that higher qualification, I
decided that teacher training should be the next thing on the list and so applied to Aberdeen
University and got a place to attend there. However that year was the beginning of teacher
training in Orkney and so I transferred onto the local course run by Aberdeen Uni. This
course took me two years and I still worked as a support for learning Assistant and Nursery
Nurse at Stronsay School while I completed it.
At the end of the teacher training I was placed for my induction year at Stronsay School and
then got the position that I currently hold, teaching in various classes through the school. I
have been a fully qualified teacher since 2009. During the years since I became fully
qualified, I have worked as a teacher in upper primary, lower primary and in secondary. I
have also had time off for maternity leave to have my two girls, Arya and Eilidh. Then in
2018 I decided that more study seemed like a good idea. I applied for and was accepted on
the Master of Education Critical Enquiry course. I have completed the first year with two
more to go. Who knows what’s next once this one is done!
It is obvious that Stronsay School has played a huge role in all that I have done and
achieved and the place and people within it, even those who have moved on, hold a very
special place in my heart. I am really proud to be part of Stronsay School.
Shirley Miller, born Shirley Allan at Leaquoy, Stronsay on 5th May
1957, to James Allan and Annie May Isbister. Had three older
brothers, Leslie, James and Ronnie. Went to the Stronsay Central
School until 1972. Moved to Oceanview in 1972 and worked in
the Stronsay Hotel and Ebenezer Stores until I got married in
1973. Raised 3 daughters at Waterha until July 1986 when we
moved in to Kirkwall. Worked as a barmaid in the Ayre Hotel and
as a cleaner and kitchen assistant in the Kirkwall Community
Centre until June 1992, when I started working as a carer at St
Rognvalds Residential Care Home for the elderly. From then until
now I have held every position possible from domestic, kitchen
assistant, laundry domestic, senior social care worker, unit lead
and finally Registered Manager where I manage over 100 members of staff. I am also
manager of the Gilbertson Day Centre. St Rognvalds House has 44 beds, 21 suffering from
dementia type illness, and 23 highly dependent physically frail. I left school with no
qualifications, but since that time, I have obtained qualifications through Orkney College,
Northern Highland College and Inverness University. This involved SVQ3, HNC, SVQ4 and
Certificate In Care Services Diploma. Every day is a different challenge. Bill Miller and I got
married in September 2018, and I will be retiring in 2023.
I studied at Stronsay Junior High School from 1995-2006 (from ages 5-16). I had a great
upbringing in Stronsay and am very grateful for the opportunities I was afforded in living the
island life. At age 16 I had little to no clue what I wanted to do with my life but felt I would
figure this out in time. I did, however, know I wanted to continue my education and play
rugby (sorry but that was a priority at 16). I went to the Kirkwall Grammar School where I
studied and obtained highers and Intermediate 2s and to my delight was able to play rugby
for Orkney RFC.
At the end of my tenure with school I was still fairly uncertain what I wanted to do with my life
and now felt time was running out. I felt a huge desire to study at University but no idea as to
what. After discussions with a careers advisor, expressing a desire to keep returning to
Orkney an option and feeling under pressure to decide right now, I applied to study quantity
surveying at Napier University.
During the summer I was very kindly given work at the local shop Olivebank (you may know
it) and by Tony Withers labouring at his house which he was refurbishing at the time. I am
extremely grateful also for the experience gained here. They were both great to work for and
have given me great references. My first year at university was very enjoyable; I made some
great lifelong friends and did reasonably in my exams passing the year. I also managed to
get work as a stand-up comedian at venues around Scotland. This was an amazing
experience and a bit of a lifelong dream of mine. Sadly, it didn’t pay particularly well in the
early days as many promoters offer experience only to start. Still there is big money to make
for some. Some of the acts I worked with have been lucky enough to be working on tv. My
advice is if you want to try something like this you should. You’ll have fun and who knows.
Show business is a tough gig but the only guarantee of not making it is not trying it. If I can
give it a go so can any of you.
Second year was a bit different, I continued to do my stand up and play rugby for Murrayfield
Wanderers and the university. However, the course became more ‘in depth’ and more
specific. I tried my best to keep up but sadly this required a lot of skills that were not strong
points if mine and I failed second year. Upon speaking to SAAS it became apparent that
funding would be less as I had completed first year and that studies would no longer be
affordable. I had to leave education still not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. This
was a fairly dark time and I won’t lie the disappointment was palpable. But life goes on. I got
a part time job doing ‘PR’ for night clubs. Essentially handing out leaflets. The hours weren’t
great, and the pay was terrible, but it beat being unemployed. The hours meant giving up my
comedy and my rugby. But I managed to play darts with my night off and was lucky enough
doing this to take on some big names of the sport through local qualifiers including Phil ‘the
Power’ Taylor. When one door closes as they say.
I worked my way up in the nightclubs and obtained my bar license so that I could come in
out of the cold and serve customers inside. After a year at the nightclubs I managed to get a
full-time job for bookmaker ‘William Hill’. This job involved more fairly unsociable hours and
the pay wasn’t great but I learnt a lot of valuable life lessons and I feel I gained a ‘thicker
skin’ working in this field. I worked my way up and completed management courses within
this role, all the while doing my best to continue with my darts when and where possible.
Around the time of starting this job I met my now wife Debbie. She was a great source of
encouragement and help when things were tough, and I have to credit her with helping me
push to move on and to believe that I could get work doing something I enjoyed and would
be successful at.
My time at William Hill was interesting to say the least but I knew I didn’t want to be there
forever, after four years and being in an albeit seconded management role I was ‘itching’ to
leave. After an interview at TSB I had a call back, they didn’t want to offer me the role I had
applied for. I thought here we go again... but they offered me a higher role instead. I was
over the moon. I started at a branch in Edinburgh and worked up to another level as well.
After the birth of our first son Billy, Debbie and I decided to move back to the isles and upon
enquiring found that the branch in Shetland needed someone for my role. I have been in the
Lerwick branch since. I start training next month to move up another level again. My wife and
I have two wonderful boys and my much more sociable hours mean I’m lucky enough to be
able to see them every night before bed. I know many people are not so lucky. I hope my
story helps some if you. Will I still be in this role in 10 years' time. Who knows?
Remember it’s ok to not be sure. You are young and making a choice now doesn’t have to
be a life sentence. There is more than one way to skin a cat and please bear in mind we will
all suffer disappointment sometimes. Don’t let it beat you. Let it teach you.
I did my Highers at KGS but didn't do very well in them (I got grades BBC for my Highers) I
really had no interest for anything at school and found the step to 5th year difficult. I took a
year out and did the get ready for work scheme at Orkney college and thought the work
experience at the care home was my favourite. So I decided to study nursing as you only
needed BBC at higher to get in. But once I was there I really didn't enjoy it and for two years
lots of people, including family members, would tell me to stick at the course even when I
knew I was beginning to hate it. I became so miserable thinking I was stuck. Until one day I
spoke to my course tutor and she said I could defer a year. I deferred my year and took on a
level 6 applied science course at Aberdeen college to see if I enjoyed that and it was a lot
better. I then left nursing completely and did an HND applied science course at the same
college which could put me directly into 3rd year of a few choices at university. I chose to
study Physiology. I graduated in July 2019 and decided to study a postgraduate
management course so in any job I took it'd (hopefully) be easier for me to be promoted
(we'll see). Since taking that course, my part time retail job which I've been at all through
university have offered me a person in charge position where I manage the store before
someone higher up comes in.
I'm so glad I didn't stay in nursing as I would be so miserable now! I think it's important to
study or work in a job you enjoy, and listen to your gut feeling rather than what anyone tells
you to do also I'd never heard of physiology until I was 21... I also didn't realise that lots of
places (and the NHS) will PAY for you to study something like physiology for 4 years, and
then you have guaranteed employment. So look out for that too!
There is #nowrongpath and I'm still on mine. Just enjoy whichever path you decide!
I left Stronsay school at 16 and went to KGS for 2 years. When it came to deciding what was
next I knew I wanted to go to uni but wasn’t entirely sure which course I wanted to do. I
ended up deciding on Accounting and Finance at RGU in Aberdeen. For my third year of uni
I took the placement route and did a year of full-time work at Weatherford UK in the invoicing
department. Once I graduated, I got a job at Baker Hughes in Aberdeen as a fixed asset
accountant. Whilst working there I started doing my ACCA. I left there to go on maternity
leave and then moved back to Orkney. I have done some bookkeeping since and I have just
recently started working in payroll at Sheila Fleet Jewellery.
I came to Stronsay School in 1987 and went into P5. I stayed there till end of S4 and went to
KGS for one year. I found the hostel too hard and left after that year. I went on to do an
apprenticeship in hairdressing for 2 years, did my 1st year in Victoria hair salon and 2nd in
Finstown hair salon, I went every 2 to 3 months to Inverness college for 2 weeks at a time
with a group all from Orkney. Then I moved to Thurso, Caithness to do a full-time beauty
course. This wasn’t for me so I got a job as a hairstylist in Thurso before buying my own
salon and had it for 5 years, I had to sell that when I divorced. I have also worked for BT
taking calls in a call centre and doing admin. After having my 2 kids I worked at Tesco for a
while as the hours suited childcare. And recently I've started working in a local barber's part
time in Thurso. I feel privileged to have had my education in Stronsay School.
I left Stronsay school and went to KGS in 3rd year so age 13 nearly 14. After KGS I worked
at The Orcadian office full time for 7 years as receptionist/admin assistant. I also had part
time jobs during this time at The Picky Centre as a receptionist and The West End Hotel as a
waitress. Whilst working at The Orcadian I gained a SVQII in Administration followed by a
modern apprenticeship in Administration. I left to look after the kids and did child minding for
a couple of years as well as working relief as an Auxiliary Nurse and receptionist at Picky to
fit in with the kids. I then got a part time job at the Bank of Scotland as a teller and then
Banking Advisor, moving to RBS in this role. By this point the kids were all at school and I
decided to study to become a Mortgage Adviser, I qualified in October 2015 and currently
work as a Mortgage Adviser at Gregor Howitt Wealth management.
I joined Stronsay school in 2008 and left in 2015. The subjects I took were English, maths,
chemistry, biology, geography, history and health and food technology. I am currently
studying for a degree in Graphic design at Sheffield Hallam University and working part time
at the Botanical restaurant. I am in my second year at university. I have always been
interested in art, design and photography. I like to base my work on nature and ecology. I am
currently working on my exhibition in which I will my marketing my work. I have designed a
company identity and logo 'Up North'. My hope is that in the future I will be able to return to
Orkney and work as an independent graphic designer or within a company. I really miss
Stronsay, it is a beautiful and inspiring place to live.
I am an ex pupil of Stronsay school. I joined Stronsay Junior High School in December 2008.
The subjects I took were English, maths, chemistry, biology, craft, geography and history.
When I left school I wanted to join the Royal Navy. I have always wanted to join the Royal
Navy, I wanted to work with weaponry and to be able to travel to different parts of the world.
So far, I have visited Gibraltar, Malta, Italy, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and the Black
Sea. I am a Warfare Specialist (and gunner) based in Portsmouth and currently serving on
HMS Forth. I previously served on HMS Daring which is a Destroyer Class in which I
completed a tour in the Middle East. During my next tour I am looking forward to visiting the
USA, Caribbean Islands and South America. When not on service I enjoy spending time
with family, but my main passion and first love is gaming. I enjoy developing and designing
platform games and I am part of the gaming community.
Went to The Stronsay school, then KGS, then worked at the Balfour Hospital and for the last
39 years have lived and worked in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
I left Stronsay School at the age of 13, went on to do 4 years at KGS. Went to Orkney
college got an HNC in Business. Got a part time job at Safeway’s to help with costs. This
turned into a permanent job going through Somerfield, Morrissons and currently Tesco.
Married with 2 bairns now both at KGS. Before leaving Stronsay I worked at John Fiddler’s
when he had the shop with petrol at the top of the pier, the lower shop, the Stronsay Hotel
and Maurice’s shop too.
I moved from Stronsay school in primary 7 and started Papdale then onto the KGS and
finally Millburn academy in Inverness. I wasn’t interested in going to college or university
even although all of my friends went off to do exciting courses and live the student life! I
wanted to make money and get my own flat. My first proper job was working in a BT call
centre answering 999 and 100 calls. This was a temporary job until I decided on my career.
Very interesting job but some things you just don’t need to hear in your life! I got a job with
RBS as a customer services officer, as the meeter/greeter and servicing clients in the
branch. I was promoted to a customer adviser (offering mortgages, loans, savings, current
accounts) and then onto a Private Banking manager, looking after high net worth clients. I
travelled anywhere north and west of Inverness to see them which meant I got to come back
to Orkney to work for a couple of days a quarter. After almost 12 years with RBS I jointly
started an independent financial services business (Thomson Wealth Management) as a
Client Services Director, again looking after high net worth client's financial needs. In 2015 I
took a 9-month break from our business to work for a London based Investment
management company (Seven Investment Management) as a Platform Relationship
Manager covering Scotland, training Financial advisers on an IT system along with
promoting the business to increase sales. I now live in Glasgow and I am currently on
maternity leave but will be going back to Thomson Wealth Management at the beginning of
the year to pick up the business development to increase our client base further.
Left to go to KGS at 13 wasna 14 till the September. Did nearly two years there, left in the
May and wasna 16 till the September. Managed to get 7 O grades. Came home and worked
a bit at home and at Housebay and really anywhere that wid take me, the factory packing
crabs, the lobster pond. Then saw what some o the white fishermen were making so decided
to go off and try it at 17, didna get away till I was newly 18. Did that for twa years until I got
married the back to Stronsay it was, wae no job. Worked at the Bu and then Whitehall for
twathree years, afore gan back tae the fishing wae Billy Peace and then Richard Groat.
Later wae me own boat. Never really knew what I wanted to do to be honest, mibe still don’t.
Spent a bit o time working on the wind turbines in Stronsay and for the Stronsay
Development Trust and 23 years in the retained fire service. Recently been 11 years
managing wind farms for SSE, moved to mainland Scotland and so the story goes on, who
kens what or whar next. Only ever been to the school of life and worked hard, only type of
luck I believe in is the luck you make yourself.
I went to Stronsay School from P1-S4. I left and studied a year at Kirkwall Grammar School
but really didn’t enjoy the book work, I didn’t get the grades that I wanted, and I just wanted
to get a job that I could be proud of. I joined what was Northern Constabulary straight out of
KGS and during my time working for the Police I also completed an HND in Business and
Administration. The role I was in was uncertain with the amalgamation of Scottish Police
Services and so I left The Police at this time and spent the next two years having my
daughters. After having my family, I worked as a front of house manager in a Casino before
moving to a hotel to work as a Pastry Chef. Having worked a couple of jobs after policing, I
knew that all I wanted to do was to go back. I missed it terribly and so I joined Sussex Police
as an officer almost two years ago now and fully intend to stay in policing of one sort or
another for the rest of my life. Everybody has their own passion. Mines policing, I absolutely
love every aspect of what I do. I can’t talk about it without feeling that passion. Protecting the
public and all that comes with that role, I feel, is my absolute purpose. My advice to anybody
who were to read this is, follow your passion, whatever it is. Find the fire in your belly and
chase that. Be happy and be proud of what you do.
After leaving Stronsay School I went to KGS to complete 5th and 6th year, staying in the
Hostel during the week. I did work experience at the hospital and at Papdale and Glaitness. I
loved my time at the hospital. So, after completing 6th year I applied to for a relief post as an
auxiliary nurse. I wasn't quite sure if I was ready to move from Stronsay yet, but with
encourage from family and being able to stay with family helped. As well as being in
employment which I enjoyed. After being at the hospital for a short time, I applied and was
successful at getting a permanent post on one of the wards. It was only a 24 hour contract
but I made hours up to full time with relief work and often worked for Orklean doing cleaning
too. This also meant I could go home and help out on the farm as and when I could. After 3
years there, I decided it was time for a change, so I applied for a full-time job working as a
support worker in the community. I have recently left there after completing my nursing
degree through the Open University. I never had the desire to move away and go to
University, so the distance learning was a great opportunity for me, learning on the job and
having all my placements in Orkney. The course took me 4 years all together, whilst working
full time so it wasn't an easy process, but it has shown me how I can prioritise and manage
my time most effectively. I am now back working on the ward where I began my nursing
career, awaiting my final results before I transition to a registered nurse.
I attended Stronsay school until age 12, I loved working on the farm and thought that’s what I
would do when I left school. I went to KGS and stayed in the old hostel, getting home one
weekend a term. I then decided I’d like to become a teacher so as soon as I got the
qualifications I needed it was off to Aberdeen. When I graduated I was offered a job in the
upper primary starting on the 1st Nov when Mrs Groat was due to retire. I worked a couple of
months on the mainland (Stenness and Rendall) before taking up this post. Mr Forrest was
headteacher at this time, he had been the head while I was a pupil at the school too. I
worked four years in upper primary before taking some time off when my son was born. We
bought a farm about this time too so I had the best of both worlds. When I went back into
teaching I worked in the lower primary, a job I loved and where I stayed until I retired.
Moved to Stronsay 1983 until 1989.have a lot of good memories from when I lived there.
Moved back to Wales, the Rhondda valleys when I was 11. Attended Treorchy comp then
llynypia college to study mechanics, completed my apprenticeship in mechanics then
decided I wanted a change of career. I went to work in a double-glazing firm where I lasted 9
years. I had a few other jobs then decided I that it was time to do what I always wanted to do
and joined the army, had a bit of criticism about my decision off friends, saying that I was too
old (32) so proved them all wrong and even got my first stripe (Lance Corporal) within my
first year of service. I completed a tour in Afghan then signed off, because I'd hardly seen my
kids or partner and family had to come first. Started work doing concrete floor polishing,
lasted 3 years then became self-employed laying pipework for fibre broadband. The way I
look at life is...If you got a dream follow it, don’t live life thinking that you should have done it!
Try it and if it doesn't work at least you can say you tried.
I went to college in Aberdeen and studied photography for about 3 years. As I was studying,
I worked in retail for a short while. Probably wasn’t the best idea as I picked up way too
many shifts and my studies slowed down. Once I finished my HND in photography I decided
to leave education and work full time as a Health care worker. I then applied for a Farm Park
Ranger job at Wynford Farm Park, Aberdeen.
Four years later and I still love it, being able to work with animals every day and do my
photography for their website. Having no qualifications in animal care I got the job from my
experience growing up on Stronsay and my folks small holding. Everything else has been
self- taught. Also involved in demonstrations and education programmes for the general
I did my national 5s in Stronsay in fourth year. Then I went to KGS for 5th and 6th year and
did several Highers and another couple of N5s. I also took part in Young Enterprise in 6th
year as an extra, we went on to win local Stage (Orkney) then the national (Scotland) and
got the opportunity to go to London and compete against teams from all over the rest of the
UK. I left KGS in 2018, I left Orkney and moved back to where I lived before, Lochalsh, on
the West Coast. I registered as self Employed and for the last year and a half I have been
Shepherding on a Contract basis, so I have a team of dogs and I go around to various
different hill farms and estates, as and when they need me, to gather in the sheep off the
I left Stronsay School at 14 and went to KGS for a couple of years. I then took a year out
before going to Aberdeen College to study Social Sciences. I got my HND from there and
then went straight into 3rd year at RGU. I graduated with an Honours degree in Applied
Social Sciences in 2018. I began work as an HR Assistant for a non-profit organisation in
Aberdeen in summer 2018 and applied for a Masters in Human Resource Management, at
RGU. I won an HR Award through my work in May which very fortunately came with a prize
of having my Masters at RGU paid and now I study it part-time whilst working full time. I'm
hoping to Ibe an HR Advisor when I finish and work my way up from there; I never thought
I'd be doing this when I left Stronsay School, especially because I'd never even heard of HR.
My advice to anyone would be to do some research because you might end up in a job you
didn't know existed!
James Peter Smith
I started primary one in Elsie Dennison’s class back in 1987. Some of my early memories
were Mrs Dennison playing the piano, playing in the “hoosie” and playing the game “where’s
Butch?” (which was a toy dog on wheels). I remember the “Hesse” maths books from that
class which involved doing endless pages of sums. We had a few other teachers up until
primary four such as Ron Shepherd and Shirley Stevenson. In primary five, I went into
Marion Orr’s class. We learnt a lot of history in that class and did some really interesting
projects such as the Vikings, the Normans, farming, oil and electricity. There were also quite
a few school trips to Kirkwall in that class to visit Maeshowe, Tankerness House Museum,
the palaces, Kirbuster and Corrigall farm museums and the Orkney Science Festival. One
big achievement for P5 – P7 was winning the Isles section of the “It’s a Knock Out”
completion in Stromness. I also remember competing in a primary school football completion
at Papdale School in Kirkwall with Gordon MacDonald as our coach.
The Stronsay swimming pool at the school was fund raised by the island and was completed
in 1994. I can remember the construction going on while we were at school and new rooms
being added to the school.
“It’s a Knock Out” winning team 1994
Back Row L-R: Lorna Shearer, Jake Croy,
James Smith, Graeme Miller, Linsey Miller.
Front Row L-R: Craig Cooper, Kristel Brown,
Stronsay Primary School Football Team 1992
Back Row L-R: James Smith, Richard Miller,
Front Row L-R: Jake Croy, Graeme Miller, Craig
Cooper, Damian Stout
In 1994 I moved up to secondary one. At the time Gordon MacDonald was the head teacher
and also taught English and Geography. Between S1 and S2 we covered the following
subjects; Maths, Science, English, History, Geography, French, art, PE, Craft and Design,
Technical Drawing, Home Economics and Music. Dr Bob Tateson was the Maths and
Science teacher and he had such enthusiasm for Science that had quite an influence on the
career I chose later on. We seemed to blow up quite a few things in that class from custard
powder with a candle, to lithium in water experiments. He was always open to new ideas and
theories to try out, there was never a dull moment.Other memories from secondary school
were learning the guitar with Fran Gray the Music teacher and playing football nearly
everyday in all weathers on the school pitch. The annual North Isles Sports was always
keenly contested against the other isles and the school won it in 1994. I played in goal that
year for the football team. We also trialled a video conference with another school which was
revolutionary back then considering people didn’t commonly have mobile phones, and
facetime or Skype didn’t exist.
Life after Stronsay School
In 1996, I headed off to Kirkwall to start standard grades in S3 at the Kirkwall Grammar
School. Having gone from class sizes of 5 – 8 pupils in Stronsay to
classes of over 20 was a big change. Stronsay School had provided
a very good grounding on all subjects and I didn’t find it too difficult
to settle in. I took 8 standard grades in Maths, English, Geography,
French, Physics, Chemistry, Graphic Communication and Craft and
Design. Following on from that in S5 and S6 I did Higher Maths,
English, Physics, Chemistry, Graphic Communication and sixth
year studies Maths.
In 2000 I started studying at Aberdeen University and graduated
with a masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Materials in
2005. I went on to work as a subsea engineer in the oil and gas
industry andbecame chartered under the institute of mechanical
engineers. I set up on my own as an engineering consultant with my own company Stronsay
Engineering Ltd in 2010 and continue to work on subsea projects today, sometimes going
offshore to oversee them.
I got married to Anna in 2009 in Stenness. We have two daughters Victoria and Catherine
and live in Aberdeen. The photo below was taken at a family wedding in 2018.
After leaving Stronsay School, I studied at KGS for two years. I knew that I wanted to have a
career in science but wasn’t sure which university course would be best for me so, after sixth
year, I took a year out of education to get some work experience. I spent most of this time
working odd-jobs on Stronsay but it also gave me the opportunity to travel to Sri Lanka and
volunteer at the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project. The work there was very
interesting and this helped me to decide that Zoology was the right choice for me. I have
now been studying Zoology at the University of Aberdeen for just under four years. I’m not
exactly sure where my career will go next but I have been lucky enough to gain work in my
chosen field, through my university experience, as an animal ranger at Wynford Farm Park,
a habitat surveyor for the North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme, and as a research
assistant for the Dolphin Alliance Project in Western Australia.
I grew up on a farm so had a love for animals from a young age and knew I always wanted
to have a career involving them. After finishing 4th year at Stronsay School I went to KGS to
continue my studies for 5th and 6th year to gain all the relevant grades to get into University.
During my time at KGS I did several work experience stints at both Northvet and Flett and
Carmichael as well as at Orkney Auction Mart to ensure I not only had the grades but also
the practical experience needed for the Veterinay Nursing courses I wanted to apply for. I
worked hard and got an unconditional offer for Edinburgh Napier University to study
Veterinary Nursing and moved to Edinburgh the same summer that I finished KGS. Going to
KGS certainly helped me with this transition as I had become a lot more independent during
those two years. I graduated from university in 2015 with an Honours degree and got a job at
a very busy small animal hospital. I continued to live and work in Edinburgh until December
2016 when I moved to Fife to take on a new job in an Orthopaedic Referral practice in order
to do more of the parts of my job that I love most: surgery and radiography. I love my job and
I feel privileged to be able to help animals every day and that I have been able to pursue my