Gillian Macaulay Development Manager
My father grew up in Bonaly and spent his summers playing in the beautiful grounds whilst my Grandmother volunteered at Merchiston. As soon as I saw the role advertised I thought how special it would be to walk down the same drive to work as my Grandmother once did. I joined Merchiston in 2016, returning in August 2019 following a period of Maternity Leave.
I have always found Merchiston to be a very special place. There are around 6,000 Merchistonians in the Club and it really is like one big family, every member of the Club has once lived at or attended Merchiston and has their own Merchiston memories but such a strong connection.
One of my favourite parts of my role is to simply walk around the grounds with a Merchistonian, giving them a tour of the School as it is now, and hearing about their time at School, seeing which area of the School sparks the best memories for them.
I also enjoy organising reunions for Merchistonians, whether it be a 1 or a 50-year reunion. The look on everyone’s face when they see each other is absolutely priceless, even if it takes them a while to realise who each other are.
Merchistonians are based all over the world, there are sports clubs, area representatives, a very active committee, events all year round, merchandise and a huge focus on a business network for Merchistonians. I love Merchistonians' enthusiasm to stay in touch with one another, meet up (whether at school together or not) and help one another out. Amazing camaraderie!
I love spending time outdoors and discovering new places, I spend a lot of time walking in the countryside looking for new and great camping spots.
My new favourite thing to do is spend time with my daughter, Matilda - she is enough to keep me busy at the moment.
In 2017 I was asked to speak with a Chalmers West pupil who had had an idea when in Pringle to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the ending of WW1 at Merchiston’s Remembrance Service in 2018 with 100 Merchiston/Merchistonian pipers and drummers parading on Remembrance Sunday.
I must admit, I did initially wonder how on earth we were going to pull this off - 100 seemed a a huge number and to get everyone in the appropriate attire and playing and parading together without a practice in the run up seemed a little ambitious, but I need not have worried. As soon I reached out to the Merchistonian community I was inundated with responses and everyone seemed so keen to take part and honour the fallen Merchistonians.
I spent the next year working with some of my wonderful colleagues to make this happen. What a special day it turned out to be, there was something so moving about seeing 100 Merchistonians, young and old, from near and far, march down the drive together, united as one. Everyone took a moment to remember the 178 Merchistonian soldiers that were killed in WW1.
You can watch the video from the march here.