William Coull

30th September 2011 at 01:00
The deputy head coached his pupils to football glory before pursuing his interest in history

William (Bill) Coull, a respected figure in teaching and sporting circles in Angus, has died at the age of 84 following a long illness.

Born in the village of Ferryden, near Montrose, he went to the local primary school at the age of three, a perfectly normal practice in a fishing community where baiting lines took precedence over looking after small children.

At the same age he fell into the River South Esk and had it not been for the prompt action of a local man, his future wife's uncle, his story might have ended there and then.

Like so many of his generation, family circumstances meant he had to leave secondary school at 14 and he became an apprentice painter and decorator.

Called up to the Army in July 1945, he was able to sit a number of exams during his National Service. On his return to "civvy street" he went into partnership as a painter and decorator, but soon realised that the work wasn't for him and he sold his share of the business.

Finding that his existing qualifications weren't sufficient for university entrance, he went to college in Glasgow in 1954, the same year he married his wife, Violet McKenzie.

Throughout his life he had an interest in history and, after getting the Highers he required for a degree course, he enrolled at Queen's College in Dundee, in those days part of St Andrews University, and graduated with an MA in history and English.

He entered teacher training college in 1959 and joined the staff of Southesk Primary in Montrose in the following year. After just three years he was promoted to deputy headteacher and held that post until health problems forced him to take early retirement in 1988.

Away from education Mr Coull was a keen sportsman; golf and football were his particular passions.

In 1966 he became secretary of Montrose FC, a position he held until the early 1980s.

He also coached the Southesk Primary football team and was particularly thrilled when the boys won the Pattullo Cup, a competition for all Angus primary schools.

Following his retirement he was able to pursue his interest in history and researched and wrote several books.

He also wrote on occasion for the local newspaper and was a regular speaker on the many topics that interested him, (one was longitude and latitude), at the various clubs and societies in his home town.

Sadly for a man with so many interests, the last few years of his life were blighted by vascular dementia and latterly he was cared for at Cairnie Lodge in Arbroath.

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