28th March 2008 at 00:00
Sandy Bruce, a maths teacher in the Scottish Borders for more than 40 years and a mainstay of Kelso's rugby club, died last month at the age of 66.

An Aberdonian by birth and educated at Robert Gordon's College, he came to the Borders some 40 years ago to teach mathematics at Kelso High, moving on to Galashiels Academy and finally to Earlston High, where he was principal teacher of maths until he retired in 2002.

Norman Roxburgh, who retired last year after 18 years as rector of Earlston High, described him as "a strong teacher in every sense" who really cared about his pupils. He gave willingly of his time to support both pupils and other teachers outside school hours and was recognised as a strict, but very good teacher, who also had a sense of humour. He took part in the staff choir, attended school dances and discos and accompanied school trips to the battlefields of Europe.

In his career, he helped develop all the main changes in examination and assessment - from the introduction of Standard grade and the development of 5-14 to the new National Qualifications under Higher Still.

On the morning of his death, he was doubtless about to begin his normal Saturday ritual of finalising arrangements for Kelso's rugby match that day. He was a cornerstone of the club, acting as fixture, match and referee's secretary, as well as announcing at the games and counting the bar takings on a Monday.

His involvement in the town's community was not confined to the rugby club; he was a player and treasurer of Kelso Bowling Club and was involved with Sportkelso and Roxburgh District Sports Council. He was a keen swimmer and runner and had, in the past, completed a marathon.

After retiring, Sandy travelled widely, following Scotland and the British and Irish Lions on several rugby tours as well as visiting far-flung parts of the world to see his middle daughter, Fiona, when she worked abroad.

In recent years, he took on the role of organising the Scottish Schools' under-15 Cup for the Scottish Rugby Union - he had gained plenty of experience in schools' rugby, complementing his maths teaching with looking after school teams over the years.

Sandy had a major health scare in November, but had seemed back to his normal self recently and had relaunched himself into his many interests. The community of Kelso will miss a well-respected citizen.

He is survived by his three daughters, Lesley, Fiona and Sarah.

Norman Anderson.

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