14th March 2008 at 00:00
Bill Lindsay, who masterminded a radical restructuring of education in Moray and Nairn in the 1960s and 70s, has died, aged 96.

As director of education, he was instrumental in transforming the joint county into one of the most efficient areas in Scotland. His vision is set out in the paper The Organisation of Primary and Secondary Education in Moray and Nairn, 1968.

One of the greatest changes he oversaw was the introduction of comprehensive education in the 1960s. This led to an extensive building programme, which included the new Elgin and Forres academies, Grantown Grammar and Nairn Academy.

The need to modernise primary education was also recognised and many smaller rural schools that were regarded as inadequate were closed and others upgraded.

The conversion of the former Elgin Academy building into Moray College of Further Education was another career milestone.

Mr Lindsay also appointed Moray and Nairn's first music organiser and helped found the Moray Music Festival, which continues to flourish.

Born at Barnhill, near Dundee, in 1911, he graduated with an MA from St Andrews University in 1933, before taking the then radical decision to pursue more studies in Paris. He gained a diploma from the Sorbonne and spent a year teaching English at one of France's top schools, the Lycee Louis le Grand in Paris. His time in the capital had a lasting effect and marked the start of a lifelong love affair with all things French.

Mr Lindsay's first teaching job, at Dunfermline High, was interrupted by the war in 1939. Being a member of the Territorial Army, he joined up immediately and by 1942 Lieutenant Lindsay found himself in charge of a gun site in Singapore.

When Singapore fell, he was taken prisoner and spent the next three years working on the infamous Burma Railway. He was fortunate to survive his time in the jungle relatively well, but never forgot a single detail of his captivity.

In the early 1950s, he received pound;70 preliminary compensation from the Japanese government. He used the money to build another railway, but this time it was a Hornby, and he was in charge.

After gaining an MEd at Edinburgh University in 1947, Mr Lindsay was appointed assistant director of education in Fife. A year later, he headed north to become director of education in Moray and Nairn, a position he held until his retirement in 1975.

In 1967 he was made a Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.

A member of the Liberal Party from the 1950s, Mr Lindsay became politically active after his retirement and was agent for several parliamentary candidates.

A widower, he is survived by his two sons, Angus and Ken.


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