17th October 2008 at 01:00

Matthew (Matt) McInnes, former depute head at Claremont High in East Kilbride and a well-known traditional jazz trombonist, has died, aged 67, after post-operative complications following a hernia operation.

He was born in Govan and educated at Govan High where he was school captain and dux. An admiring junior pupil was Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager.

Matt won first prize in a Glasgow schools' competitive examination resulting in a Rhodes Scholarship to Canada, where he spent six weeks with various families.

On his return, he attended Glasgow University, graduating BSc in 1962. After a year at Jordanhill, he taught mathematics at King's Park Secondary in Glasgow. While there, he was promoted to the post of "special assistant" in recognition of his valuable whole-school responsibilities. He gained an honours degree in mathematics from Strathclyde University.

Matt's chosen career path was via the guidance system, then in its infancy in Scottish schools. He went to Claremont High as a housemaster, then to Allan Glen's in Glasgow and back to Claremont. He retired in 1996 as depute head.

Matt was probably best known, however, as a musician. He started playing trombone when at Govan High and was a member of the Glasgow Schools' Orchestra. He developed a love of traditional jazz and in 1959, while still at school, formed his own band, the Bourbon Jazz Band. He then went on to play with The West Coast Jazzmen, The Brown Derby Jazz Band, The Alex Dalgleish All Stars and Jeannie Maxwell and the Jazzwegians. He was a member of the Kit Carey band from 1985 to 2003 and finished his jazz career with The George Penman Jazz Band. He also played guitar in a big band and was part of a five-trombone group.

He joined the Close Shave Barber Shop Chorus in 2000 and used his computer skills to prepare professional quality music copies and CDs of the entire repertoire so that the singers could listen to and memorise their parts. He led the bass section with enthusiasm and commitment.

One day, when Matt was at Claremont High, the principal teacher of PE invited Sir Alex to the school to present the senior boys' football team with their Scottish Schools' Cup-winners medals. Sir Alex had a cup of tea in the staffroom during the morning interval where his appearance aroused considerable interest and comment. Matt suddenly appeared, unaware of all the fuss. Sir Alex spotted Matt, rose from his seat and, in a loud voice, exclaimed: "Matt McInnes - you were my hero at school!"

Matt was indeed a hero in his own right to many and will be sadly missed.

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