Pupils pay trib­ute to in­spi­ra­tional teacher

Paisley Daily Express - - Front Page - Kath­leen Speirs

The in­cred­i­ble legacy of one Pais­ley teacher lives on through thou­sands of his for­mer pupils.

PE teacher Alan Mel­drum trag­i­cally passed away in March last year from Alzheimer’s dis­ease.

Such sad news sparked an out­pour­ing of con­do­lences from Buddies taught by Alan at Castle­head High School.

In­spir­ing oth­ers to fol­low in his foot­steps, scores of pupils went on to pur­sue a ca­reer in PE teach­ing.

Many of those are ‘drillies’ work right here in Ren­frew­shire.

Alumni are now dust­ing off their kit for a sports day-themed re­u­nion in mem­ory of the man many called their ‘hero’.

Mark Ful­ton, 37, sill lives in Pais­ley and teaches PE at the town’s St An­drew’s Academy.

“Alan Mel­drum is the main rea­son I’m in the job I’m in,” Mark said. “He was a to­tal in­spi­ra­tion.” Alan’s ded­i­ca­tion stuck with Mark in his own ca­reer, so much so that he scooped a Provost’s Sports Achieve­ment Award.

He was one of the many pupils who played in the Satur­day morn­ing league for one of Alan’s hockey teams.

“We had to ar­rive at the bus on time ev­ery week in full uni­form,” he added.

“This league had pri­vate schools in it and of­ten we would beat them.

“He taught us how to be gra­cious losers. I al­ways re­mem­ber some­one swear­ing af­ter a game and it not go­ing down very well.”

To­wards the end of Alan’s ca­reer he taught Graeme Hamil­ton.

Graeme, 30, teaches PE at Mary Rus­sell School and ad­mits sport wasn’t al­ways his thing.

“If it wasn’t for Mr Mel­drum there’s no way I’d be here to­day,” he said. “He saw I wasn’t the best but in­tro­duced me to gym­nas­tics.

“Soon I was do­ing back flips and lov­ing it.”

Be­ing in­clu­sive was some­thing Lin­wood dad Alan made a top pri­or­ity in the gym hall.

The fruits of this labour are no more ob­vi­ous than through the achieve­ments of Gary David­son.

Gary’s spina bi­fida was no ob­sta­cle for Alan, who en­cour­aged him to take up ta­ble ten­nis and wheel­chair bas­ket­ball.

Within a few months Gary was the na­tional cham­pion in ta­ble ten­nis for his age group.

In 1984, he placed fourth at the Par­a­lympics with his wheel­chair bas­ket­ball team.

Now 53, Gary still shoots hoops.

“All it took was for Mr Mel­drum to be­lieve in me,” Gary said.

“He was just such a lovely man an in­clu­sive teacher.”

Span­ning over 30 years, Alan’s classes were al­ways a level play­ing field.

Tammy Laird, a pupil from 1999 to 2003, al­ways relied on Mr Mel­drum.

“I re­mem­ber he helped me get over my fear of vault­ing the pum­mel horse when I was not light on my feet,” Tammy said.

“Cross coun­try was not my strong point ei­ther, but he was just so en­cour­ag­ing. “Every­one re­spected him.” Peter Hartland at­tended school with Alan’s el­dest son Andy from 1979 to 1985.

The pair went on to teach­ing col­lege to fol­low in ‘ Meldy’s’ foot­steps.

“I’ve taught PE in Ren­frew­shire, Glas­gow, Eng­land, Nige­ria and now Oman,” Peter said.

“Ev­ery­where I go I take Alan’s val­ues.

“He was a fan­tas­tic man, I was so sad when I found out he had died.”

Fel­low class­mate Gor­don Moore also played on one of the many suc­cess­ful hockey teams.

“While Alan and Castle­head pro­duced an in­cred­i­ble amount of ath­letes per­form­ing at na­tional and in­ter­na­tional level, he had time for every­one,” Gor­don said.

“He made sure no­body was left be­hind.”

This was true of Don Tervit, who calls Mr Mel­drum his main in­spi­ra­tion.

“He would pick me up for games and train­ing and drop me off home in Mil­larston,” Don said.

“Not many teach­ers would do that nowa­days.

“He gave me a hockey stick when every­one else had their own.

“I still play and coach for Kel­burne to this day.”

Dun­can McInnes opted for a ca­reer in ac­coun­tancy, while his brother Derek takes the reins at Aberdeen FC.

He says the pair owe a lot to Mr Mel­drum.

“The way Alan was with staff and pupils re­ally in­stilled some­thing in all of us go­ing into adult life. He was fair, gen­er­ous and to­tally ded­i­cated.”

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